Following Clipper Erickson's debut at age nineteen in Los Angeles as soloist with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra, the Los Angeles Times wrote: "He played with extraordinary dash and power and never let flamboyance obscure art." He studied at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Indiana University, training with the renowned British pianist John Ogdon and Alexander Fiorillo, one of the few pupils of Vladimir Horowitz. Erickson has won top prizes at international competitions such as the Busoni and William Kapell, and performs as soloist with orchestras throughout the US, as well as recitalist in venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall, and Symphony Space in New York. His brilliant playing consistently receives raves, such as from the Washington Post: "Like a true heroic pianist, Erickson approached Liszt with power, precision and Romantic abandon … a take-no-prisoners rendition."
In 2016, Gramophone UK honored Erickson's recording, My Cup Runneth Over – the Complete Piano Works of R. Nathaniel Dett, as a critic's choice and best album of the year, writing: "this historically and musically important release not only fills a crucial catalogue gap but sets reference standards. No serious aficionado of the history of American piano music can afford to miss it." American Record Guide agreed: "Erickson is simply a fabulous pianist." His prior albums have often featured American music from past and present, often of lesser-known composers.
Erickson is active in premiering and recording new works, most recently the immense and colorful Sonata 7, Tanzania, by Zurich-based composer Laurie Altman. Fanfare praised Erickson's previous recording of Altman's Sonata No. 5: "This is a splendid work, superbly brought to life by pianist Clipper Erickson." Future recording projects include the piano sonatas of Russian émigré David Finko and Temple University composer emeritus Richard Brodhead.
Through his work as a roster member of Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour and earlier in the Xerox Pianist Program of Affiliate Artists, Erickson specializes in engaging audiences with illuminating commentary on his program repertoire. Committed to encouraging the love of music in future generations of musicians, he performs regularly in schools and gives master classes. Erickson is a faculty member of Westminster Conservatory in Princeton, Temple University, and Rutgers University.