Clayton Penrose-Whitmore is a graduate student at the University of Michigan, where he studies violin performance with faculty member David Halen.

Clayton received a Bachelor of Music in 2015 from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with faculty member Nicholas Kitchen.


Clayton was the 2nd Place Senior Division Laureate at the 2014 Sphinx Competition, a national competition for Black and Latino string players.

In 2008 Clayton was the First Place Junior Division Laureate in the Sphinx Competition. Also in that year he was the inaugural recipient of the Chase Isaac Stern Award for musical talent and artistry.


He was soloist and concertmaster on the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra’s 2008 tour in Detroit, New York, and Boston. During that tour, The New York Times said Clayton gave a “buoyant performance” at Carnegie Hall. The Toledo Blade said that he “delivered a solid and convincing account” at Orchestra Hall in Detroit.


Of a solo performance in 2009 under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, The Detroit News said, “Poised beyond his years, Penrose-Whitmore displayed graceful style to go with his seemingly effortless technique.” Maestro Slatkin wrote on his own web page that Clayton “played with the virtuosity that this music requires.”


As a member of the Emerald String Quartet, Clayton was awarded the Silver Medal in the Junior Division at the 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. The quartet also received the Gold Medal at the 2010 Saint Paul String Quartet Competition. They took first place in the Jules M. Laser Chamber Music Competition and were the Open Division Overall Winner of the Chicago National Chamber Music Competition.


Clayton has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras, including the New World Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Ypsilanti Symphony, the Alton Symphony Orchestra, and the Jacksonville Illinois Symphony.


He has performed on four broadcasts of the NPR radio program, From The Top, and on Chicago’s WFMT radio program, Introductions, which presents the region's most talented pre-collegiate classical musicians. He has been featured in Teen Strings Magazine.


Clayton is active in music outreach programs, performing in classrooms and encouraging students’ musical interests. He has appeared in numerous benefit concerts to raise funds for music scholarships. He was named a Young Futurist by The Root Magazine for “keeping music appreciation alive.”


Clayton has performed in master classes for Pinchas Zukermann, Leonidas Kavakos, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Pamela Frank, Rachel Barton-Pine, Joel Smirnoff, the Orion Quartet, and the Pacifica Quartet.


He has studied at the Aspen Music Festival, the Heifetz International Music Institute, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Okemo Young Artists Program, and Interlochen Summer Arts Camp. He attended the New York String Orchestra Symposium in 2013 and 2014.


Clayton began playing the violin at the age of four. He was a student in the Academy Program of the Music Institute of Chicago for four years, where he studied with faculty members Almita and Roland Vamos. He previously studied with Georgia Hornbacker of Springfield, Illinois.