The Swiss conductor, violinist and music pedagogue, Alfred Ellenberger, was the son of a merchant. In the 1920’s he attended the Freies Gymnasium in Bern and got violin lessons from Alphonse Brun. With his first wife Suzanne Eggli, he was a friend of the famous pianist Casadesus family in Paris.
During World War II (1942-1943 ?), Alfred Ellenberger became Music Director of the Orchesterverein Thun (today Thuner Stadtorchester), suceeding August Oetiker and held this post until his death. He began the series of subscription concerts, which have now become an indispensable part of the musical life of the city of Thun for over 50 years. Renowned soloists appeared with the Orchesterverein Thun during his tenure, among them Yehudi Menuhin in Johannes Brahms’s Violin Concerto and Wolfgang Schneiderhan in L.v. Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. He was succeed by François Pantillon. He also conducted the Radio-Orchester Beromünster.
Alfred Ellenberger also worked as a music teacher at the Allgemeine Musikschule in Bern (he taught there violin in the first half of the 1950’s), at the Lehrerinnenseminar and at the Gymnasium in Thun. All of his students received instruction in the introductions to the subscription concerts. Beat Marti-Leget, who was Ellenberger’s violin student in Bern from 1950 to 1954, said: “He had a charming and very nice character and he never was offending to anyone” Ellenberger shared the sad fate of Paganini: cancer of the larynx after years of heavy smoking. Hans Studer (1911-1984) composed Epitaph in memoriam Alfred Ellenberger for orchestra (1974). In 1976, the Stiftung Marianne und Alfred Ellenberger (c/o Musikschule Region Thun) was founded. The Foundation's purpose is to align individual scholarships for instrumental, solo vocal and dance lessons.