Alice Harnoncourt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Alice Harnoncourt (née Hoffelner; born 26 September 1930) is an Austrian classical violinist. She is noted for her playing of the Baroque violin, viol, and other stringed instruments. In 1953 she and her husband Nikolaus Harnoncourt founded the Concentus Musicus Wien, initiating the movement to perform early music on period instruments.

Early life and education[edit]

Alice Hoffelner was born in 1930 in Vienna, Austria. She studied violin and other stringed instruments as a student of Josef Mertin and became interested in Baroque violin.


In 1953, along with her husband Nikolaus Harnoncourt, she founded the period instrument ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien. She served as its principal violinist until 1985. 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.

Marriage and family[edit]

Alice Hoffelner and Nikolaus Harnoncourt married before 1953. They have raised a daughter and three sons. Their two surviving sons are Philipp and Franz. Their third son Eberhard, a violin maker, died in 1990 in an automobile accident.[1]


  1. ^ James R. Oestreich (10 November 1996). "Following His Fixations, Early Music to Whatever". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-13.