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Mahle was born in Stuttgart, Germany. He studied music with Johann Nepomuk David in Stuttgart before coming to Brazil in 1951, and then with Hans-Joachim Koellreutter in Piracicaba. He became a Brazilian citizen in 1962. In 1953 he was one of the founders of the Escola de Música de Piracicaba. After studying music there, he became artistic director and conductor of the orchestra and choir of the Institute, holding these posts now for almost fifty years.
In 2005 he composed the opera O Garatuja, libretto by Eugênio Leandro, based on the homonymous novel by José de Alencar, which was premiered on April 27, 2006, at the Teatro Municipal de Piracicaba "Dr Losso Netto". He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Music (chair n. 6).
- Marroquinhas Fru-Fru (1974) opera, libretto by Maria Clara Machado
- A Moreninha (1979) opera, libretto by José Maria Ferreira
- O Garatuja (2006) opera, libretto by Eugênio Leandro
- Ferreira, Paulo Affonso de Moura. 1976. Ernst Mahle: Catálogo de obras. Brasília: Ministério das Relações Exteriores.
- Tokeshi, Eliane. 2001. "As sonatas e sonatinas para violino e piano de Ernst Mahle: Uma abordagem dos aspectos estilísticos". In I Seminário Nacional de Pesquisa em Performance Musical. III: Belo Horizonte, 2000, edited by André Cavazotti, 43-56. Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Also constituting the journal Per musi: Revista de performance musical 3 (January–June 2001).
- Escola de Música de Piracicaba (in Portuguese) (with short bio)
- Compositores e obras do CD "Com licença!..." (in Portuguese) (Short bio)
- Classical Composers Database
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