Alice Harnoncourt

Alice Harnoncourt (left) at the Erasmus Prize ceremony for her husband (second from the right) and Gustav Leonhardt, 1980

Alice Harnoncourt (née Hoffelner; born 26 September 1930) is an Austrian classical violinist.


Born in Vienna, Alice Hoffelner studied violin and other stringed instruments as a student of Josef Mertin, and subsequently became interested in baroque violin. In 1953, she married Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and the couple founded the period instrument ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien in the same year. Their ensemble strongly influenced and changed the performance and recording of early music by contemporary musicians, as it emphasized the use of period instruments. Until 1968, Harnoncourt performed on a Jakob Stainer violin made in 1658. She switched to an instrument of 1665 vintage, also by a maker from the Absam region of Austria. In addition to baroque violin, she has performed on the pardessus de viole (the smallest form of the viola da gamba), viola and viola d'amore. She served as its principal violinist until 1985, and continued to perform with the CMW until her husband's retirement from conducting in December 2015, when she also retired from the ensemble.

She was married to Harnoncourt from 1953 until his death on 5 March 2016. Their marriage produced a daughter and three sons.[1] Their daughter is the mezzo-soprano Elisabeth von Magnus. Their two surviving sons are Philipp and Franz. Their third son Eberhard, a violin maker, died in 1990 in an automobile accident.[2]


  1. ^ "Nikolaus Harnoncourt obituary". The Guardian. 6 March 2016.
  2. ^ James R. Oestreich (10 November 1996). "Following His Fixations, Early Music to Whatever". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-13.

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