Freelance violist Clio Tilton delights in the diversity and excitement in her career. Seeking to share her gifts both through teaching and performing, she can be heard around the Bay Area in a wide range of groups: early music ensembles, symphony orchestras, chamber groups, and rock bands.

As a modern violist Clio performs regularly as a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Contemporary Players, and Magik Magik Orchestra as well as other regional orchestras. Sought after as a chamber musician, Clio has performed with the Friction Quartet, Classical Revolution, and is a member of the Americana Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco. In late 2013, Clio undertook a project to commission new works for solo viola that resulted in a solo viola video-cast. She has recorded for Time Warner with the Camerata de Lausanne, and has also been heard in recordings with Shajarian, Geographer, and Meklit.

An early music specialist, Clio performs with the American Bach Soloists, the San Francisco Bach Choir, Jubilate Orchestra, and Musa. She has performed in the past with European ensembles including the Wallfisch Band and the baroque orchestra of the Paris Conservatory, and was selected for an internship with the French baroque orchestra Les Arts Florissants.


Clio was named for the Greek muse of history and music. She started piano at age six, picked up a viola in fourth grade, and the rest was … history. She completed Oberlin's double degree program in viola performance and comparative literature, writing a senior thesis on the Japanese poet Ishigaki Rin. After earning her master's at Juilliard, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study orchestral and baroque performance in Switzerland. During her two years studying in Lausanne and Geneva, Clio performed with Swiss ensembles such as l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Sinfonietta de Lausanne, and the Camerata de Lausanne.

Chamber music has always been, and continues to be, a central part of Clio's musical pursuits. She spent three summers at the prestigious Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Maine during college, and has coached chamber music with the Juilliard String Quartet, Misha Amory of the Brentano Quartet, and Sylvia Rosenberg. During her time at Juilliard she was a member of the award-winning Calla Quartet. In Europe she performed at the THY festival, and most recently has become passionate about finding ways to share chamber music with audiences on a deeply personal level through her work with the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco.

Since moving to the Bay Area in 2011, Clio has developed a special love for teaching music to young children. She marvels at the spontaneous and joyful way young children approach music, and finds fulfillment in giving them a start on developing a love of singing and playing instruments over the course of their lives. Also a chamber music coach and teacher of violin and viola, Clio maintains a private studio in San Francisco and is a resident teaching artist at the Alameda String Academy.