Jennifer Ward Clarke
Early life and career
Jennifer Ward Clarke was born in Yateley, Hampshire on 20 June 1935, the daughter of Dorothea (née Devitt) and Harry Ward Clarke, a prep school headteacher. At Benenden School in Kent she became interested in the cello, and studied at London's Royal College of Music with Ivor James, where she won the prize for cello. She won a scholarship to study for a year at the Paris Conservatoire with Paul Tortelier. On three occasions she took part in the masterclasses in Switzerland of Pablo Casals.
She was a founder member in 1965 of the Pierrot Players, later renamed the Fires of London, and with them took part in the first performances of Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies, and Medusa by Harrison Birtwistle. She was a founder member of the London Sinfonietta in 1968, and played with them for several years.
In 1982 she became a member of the Salomon Quartet, set up to perform classical music on period instruments; she toured and made recordings with the quartet until her retirement in 2009. From the 1980s she was professor of baroque cello at the Royal Academy of Music.
She was married to the writer Michael Foss, and they had a daughter Kate.