Genevieve - profile

Genevieve Clifford


When and where was your first concert with MCO?

My first concert with the MCO was Mahler's fourth symphony with Vladimir Jurowski in March 2014 in Ferrara. We had swapped parts at the last minute, as someone was sick, so I found myself sitting on the second horn, not knowing the part, absolutely terrified and feeling like a total imposter. As soon as we played the first notes though, I suddenly felt completely at home. It was like somehow this was exactly the way in which I’d always wanted to make music and finally I was!

What do you need to feel at home on tour?

A nice bathtub and a few video calls to my family! Also, I usually try and find a place to go rock climbing at least once while on tour. It’s important for me to keep fit and I’ve seen some very interesting areas of the cities we are playing in during my search for climbing gyms. They tend not to be in the center of town!

What is the best thing about being a musician? 

Getting to bring beautiful music to audiences in so many different countries. I love travelling and experiencing new places, especially when I feel like we are bringing a positive experience to people as we go.

The first piece of music you fell in love with?

Thats easy: Mozart’s fourth horn concerto! I used to turn up a recording of Barry Tuckwell playing it really loud in my parents' living room and play along to it for hours on end. I just couldn’t get enough of that beautiful sound!

What would you do if you weren’t a musician?

I would love to be a doctor. I grew up in a medical family: my grandfather was a doctor, both my parents and my sister are doctors, too. The dinner table discussion when I was younger was usually about some unusual illness they’d had to treat that day. It was a difficult decision for me to study music, and there will always be a part of me that wonders what it might have been like if I’d chosen otherwise. I even played in the Australian Doctors orchestra for a while (they never have enough horn players!)

What makes a perfect concert?

A perfect concert definitely doesn’t exist. I think, as musicians, we are such perfectionists, that there will always be something that disappoints us. The closest we can get is to try and have an emotional connection with our audiences and hopefully leave them feeling better than before the concert. I’m pretty sure the MCO manages this all the time!


Australian-born Genevieve Clifford began playing the horn at the age of 9. During her time as a student at the University of Melbourne, studying both music and history, she was already performing regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. 

She also studied at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) before moving to Germany in 2006 to attend the Universität der Künste Berlin, as a student of Professor Christian Dallmann, graduating with honors in 2009.

After a year spent performing with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Genevieve won her first permanent position, in the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra. During her time in Essen, she developed a keen interest in chamber music, playing regularly with various ensembles. In 2016 Genevieve moved to Frankfurt to join the Frankfurter Opernorchester as a low horn player. 

She performs regularly with renowned orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin , WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, MusicaAeterna and the Australian World Orchestra.

Genevieve tries to balance her musical career with her passion for the outdoors. When she is not on the stage, she can often be found climbing a rock wall or scaling mountains somewhere around the world.

Genevieve is an Associate Member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra for the 2020–21 season.