“Musical prodigy… The expression a ‘born musician’ fits Larry Clapp of Mesa, who as a child prodigy in Chandler some years ago made newspaper headlines for his brilliant performances on the piano.”
Larry Clapp received his undergraduate training as a performing artist at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York, under the direction of Jacob Lateiner. He furthered his studies while attending Arizona State University, working with well-known pianists James Ruccolo, Steven De Groote and Caio Pagano, where he completed a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance.
Mr. Clapp has been playing the piano by ear as early as 3 1/2 years old. “My grandmother gave me that toy piano for Christmas when I was about 4. I started plunking around and then began picking out tunes. By the time I was 5, I even appeared on television. Then someone suggested that I should get an instructor and start taking lessons. We got a piano, and I started real study.”
At 13 years of age, he won the concerto competition sponsored by the Phoenix Symphony Guild with his performance of the Mendelssohn Concerto in g-minor. As a result, he appeared as guest soloist with the Phoenix Symphony Youth Orchestra. By the time he was only 15, he won the Symphony Guild’s young musicians competition and played as guest artist with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, performing Rachmaninoff’s Concerto no. 2, one of the most demanding concertos ever written for piano. Prior to his collegiate education, Mr. Clapp won first place awards at eight music festivals and competitions across the United States. Having been one of 40 individuals chosen world-wide from hundreds of applicants, he was invited to compete at the famous Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition, where he was honored with the highest award for best interpretation of a 20th century French work. Mr. Clapp was later invited to participate at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, where his performances drew great acclaim from all who attended. In addition to a large solo repertoire, Mr. Clapp has a repertoire of concerti by Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff and Schumann. He has had the pleasure of performing most of these pieces both locally and abroad.
Most recently, he had the rare opportunity of performing for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during her trip to the United States.
As a community service, Mr. Clapp assisted the Phoenix Symphony in raising funds to acquire their new grand piano, by playing several Phoenix Symphony Benefit Concerts called “Eighty Eight Keys Make a Concert Grand.”
Although Larry has freely improvised most of his life, he recently captured a collection of compositions on his newly released CD “Heart of a Child,” which contains 13 original pieces with styles diverse enough to satisfy any musical taste.