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Alice Ehlers (Harpsichord)

Born: April 16, 1887 - Vienna, Austria
Died: March 1, 1981 - Redondo Beach, Los Angeles, California, USA

The Austrian-born American harpsichordist and teacher, Alice Ehlers, was the first student of world-renowned harpsichordist Wanda Landowska. Together with other early W. Landowska students as Edith Weiss-Mann and Eta Harich-Schneider, she was in the forefront of the early music revival in Germany in general and the revival of the harpsichord in particular.

Alice Ehlers ranked as one the leading harpsichordist of our day. She was unexcelled in her authoritative and sensitive interpretations of J.S. Bach's keyboard works. She had a long association with Dr. Albert Schweitzer both as a student as a colleague of his. Ehlers rendered Schweitzer's hospital through benefit concerts (a selection of letters these two great personalities exchanged between the years of 1928 and 1965 was published in the book Albert Schweitzer & Alice Ehlers - A Friendship in Letters). She has concretised widely in the USA, South America, Europe, Israel and Egypt as soloist with major symphony orchestras and in solo and chamber recital. She was a featured performer in Samuel Goldwyn's Wuthering Heights (1939). She performed onscreen at a double-manual harpsichord Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca for the assembled party guests.

Since the early 1950's Alice Ehlers lived in California, she was Professor for harpsichord at the University of Southern California. She had a large following of students (among them: Robert Bowman, Laurette Goldberg, Malcolm Hamilton, Victor Hill) and was endeared by them and her fellow artists. In 1961 she founded The Southern California Junior Bach Festival, Inc. (SCJBF), to encourage the study and appreciation of the music of J.S. Bach among young student musicians.

Source: Liner notes to the LP 'J.S. Bach: English Suites Nos. 5 and 6' (Author: Francis F. Martin; Allegro 1953); Bits & pieces from various websites; Victor Hill (former student of Alice Ehlers, retired as professor of mathematics, still working as a professional harpsichordist, May 2012); Ann and Isidor Saslav (November 2012)
Contributed by
Teri Noel Towe & Aryeh Oron (May 2007); Victor Hill (May 2012); Ann and Isidor Saslav (November 2012)

Alice Ehlers: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites


Victor E. Hill IV - Thomas T. Read Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus (Williams College)


Alice R. Bergel: Albert Schweitzer & Alice Ehlers - A Friendship in Letters (1991, University Press of America). Buy this book at:

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Last update: żNovember 4, 2012 ż12:45:46