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Elizabeth Wallfisch (Violin, Conductor)

Born: 1948 - England1 or 28 January 1952 - Australia3

The Australian-born English violinist and conductor, Elizabeth Wallfisch, was a natural musician from a young age, debuting as a concert soloist at the age of 12 and taking part in such competitions as the ABC Concerto Competition. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London under the tutelage of Frederick Grinke and was awarded, among other prizes, the President's Prize. At the age of 20 she won the Franco Gulli Senior Prize for violin, and was jointly awarded the Mozart Memorial Prize. In 1974, she won the prize for most outstanding performance of J.S. Bach in the Carl Flesch Competition, an award which surely indicated the acclaim she would receive as a Baroque violinist later in her career.

Elizabeth Wallfisch began to perform with and lead orchestras such as the London Mozart Players and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in England, thus establishing herself as a concert performer in that country. She was a member of the London Fortepiano Trio from 1978. She performed with them the Viennese repertory on original instruments in Britain, Italy, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, including the complete piano trios of Haydn in London in 1982 to celebrate the 250th anniversary; the complete L.v. Beethoven’s piano trios at the Wigmore Hall in 1987; 1991 season with W.A. Mozart trios and quartets in London, tour on the Early Music Network and W.A. Mozart performances in Barcelona, Lisbon and Germany. The music and technique of the Baroque then became Wallfisch's main passion, as she developed a reputation as a specialist Baroque violinist. She was one of the founding members of the Purcell Quartet, making their debut concert Febraury 14, 1984 at St John's Smith Square, London, and continuing with extensive tours and broadcasts in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, as well as tours of the USA and Japan in 1991-1992; British appearances include four Purcell concerts at the Wigmore Hall in 1987, later broadcast on Radio 3. In 1989, she co-founded The Locatelli Trio (since re-named Convivium), along with Richard Tunnicliffe (cello) and Paul Nicholson (harpsichord). This ensemble records and performs less well-known works from the Baroque, including violin sonatas by Pietro Antonio Locatelli, Arcangelo Corelli and Tartini.

A leading interpreter of music on the Baroque and classical violins, Elizabeth Wallfisch is a favourite with both audiences and orchestras because of her virtuosity, her generous, sparkling personality and her impeccable musicianship. Her appearances are marked by a daring and spontaneous approach to performance that results in electrifying musicmaking. Her repertoire includes music on the La Folia theme by Antonio Vivaldi. A. Corelli, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Marais, Alessandro Scarlatti, Vitali and Geminiani; instrumental works and songs by Purcell, music by Matthew Locke, John Blow and Fantasias and Airs by William Lawes; 17th Century virtuoso Italian music by Marini, Buonamente. Gabrieli. Fontana, Stradella and Lonati; J.S. Bach and his forerunners - Biber, Samuel Scheidt, Schenk. Reincken and Dietrich Buxtehude.

Renowned not only as a prominent interpreter of 17th and 18th century violin music, Elizabeth Wallfisch is also an inspiring leader and director. Wallfisch has led many diverse ensembles and orchestras around the world to great acclaim. She has guest-directed many of the world's best period orchestras, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Nederlandse Bachvereniging, Tafelmusik, Apollo's Fire, The Hanover Band, Raglan Baroque Players, L'Orfeo Barockorchester (Director: Michi Gaigg), Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Increasingly popular with modern-instrument orchestras, she has also directed the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Elizabeth Wallfisch’s playing has taken her from the Lincoln Center in New York, where she led the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the opening concert of the 2003 Handel Festival, to Zimbabwe, where she appeared as soloist with the Harare Symphony Orchestra (and brass band from the local police department!) in a rendition of Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto. For 15 years she has been the concert master of the prestigious Carmel Bach Festival in California. In January 2007 she was the Music Director of National Music Camp Australia.

Forthcoming and recent directing engagements include the European Union Baroque Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Vancouver, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, and return invitations to Music of the Baroque in Chicago, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Vasteras Sinfonietta, and her debut directing the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester.

Academic positions, past and present, held by Elizabeth Wallfisch include Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, teaching at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and artist-in-residence at Melbourne University.

Always keen to nurture young talent, Elizabeth Wallfisch has recently formed The Wallfisch Band, a unique international period-instrument orchestra in which hand-picked younger players, either still studying or on the threshold of their careers, play alongside Elizabeth and her seasoned colleagues, all players at the very top of the profession. The experience is a living 'masterclass' within an intensive rehearsal and concert environment. The combination of youthful energy and musical experience results in performances of the greatest vigour, intensity and passion. The ensemble made its debut in the 2008 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music and will perform in the UK, Germany, Turkey, New Zealand and Austrailia in the coming seasons.

Her early recordings include: Six record set on the La Folia theme; Piano trios by Beeethoven, Haydn and W.A. Mozart (Hyperion); Purcell Sonatas for two violins. viola da gamba and continuo; Sonatas by A. Vivaldi and A. Corelli (Chandos). Elizabeth Wallfisch's long and impressive discography offers a window onto her expansive musical world. From the High Baroque Italian violinist-composers, well-known and obscure, well-known and obscure, such as A. Vivaldi (Four Seasons), A. Corelli, P.A. Locatelli (Violin Concerti Op 3), Veracini, Tartini, Geminiani and the Classical and Romantic greats from W.A. Mozart to Felix Mendelssohn, she also embraces the music of their lesser-known contemporaries such as Myslivecek and Abel. She has explored the music of Paganini and Viotti and has recorded most of the music of the great Baroque tradition, from the earliest Italian violin music of Cima, to Biber, Georg Philipp Telemann, J.S. Bach and the rich, sensual music of the French Baroque.

Elizabeth Wallfisch's has published a treatise, specifically on fundamental aspects of Baroque violin playing: The Art of Playing Chin-Off for the Brave and the Curious, published by King's Music.

She is married to the British cellist Raphael Wallfisch.

“Wallfisch showed herself to be a truly great soloist, tremendously poised, absolutely in tune, sparkling with musicality in the virtuoso passagework and shading the melodic lines with incredible colors.” - Donau Kurier

1. International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93)
2. Elizabeth Wallfisch Website
3. Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2010)

Elizabeth Wallfisch: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Violin concertos by Elizabeth Wallfisch

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Gustav Leonhardt


Member of Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
L-3 (1994):
BWV 11, BWV 249

Andrew Parrott


BWV 245

Andrew Parrott


Member of Taverner Players:
C-6 (1987): Selections from
BWV 29, BWV 31, BWV 106, BWV 147, BWV 156, BWV 174, BWV 248/2

Bruno Weil

Concert Master

Selections from BWV 42, BWV 205, BWV 245; BWV 225

Links to other Sites

Elizabeth Wallfisch - Violinist & Director (Official Website)
Elizabeth Wallfisch - violin (Hyperion)
Elizabeth Wallfisch (Ikon Arts)

Elizath Wallfisch (Wikipedia)
Elizabeth Wallfisch, Concertmaster, Director of Monday Main Concert (Carmel Bach Festival)
Elizabeth Wallfisch page on Facebook

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