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Liselotte Selbiger (Harpsichord)

Born: August 23, 1906 - Berlin, German

The German-born Danish harpsichordist, Liselotte [Elisabeth Charlotte Ida] Selbiger, was not destined to become a professional musician as a child. She was taught the cello and the piano so she could play chamber music together with the rest of the family. Her father played the violin and her mother and grandmother, the piano. Her musical upbringing allowed her to continue to play cello in the famous Berlin amateur orchestra "Arzteorchester". Among the prominent members of the orchestra was the physicist Albert Einstein, who used to sit at his music desk right behind Selbiger, playing the viola.

While playing the cello for 20 years, Liselotte Selbiger also developed her piano playing and in 1933 registered for the music teacher's exam. She passed several of the exam subjects with honors, including the mandatory assignment on ornamentation in the music of J.S. Bach. It was this very assignment that decided her career. She now became so fascinated with Bach's music that she started taking lessons in harpsichord playing with Carl Bittner, a protégé of the harpsichord celebrity in those days, Wanda Landowska, and for the rest of her life she concentrated on this instrument. Because of the War, she had to leave Germany and settled with her husband in Denmark. She continued her career until the mid-1970's, and although misfortune, disregard and disease affected her life and impeded the scope of her ability, she will nevertheless remain forever the person who, thanks to her strong will and artistic intelligence, ensured the harpsichord its rightful position in Danish musical life.

Source: Liner notes to the album ''Liselotte Selbiger Plays J. S. Bach on Harpsichord" (Danacord)
Contributed by
Teddy Kayfman (December 2006)

Liselotte Selbiger: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

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Last update: ęDecember 11, 2006 ę16:03:37