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Alice Harnoncourt: For 20 years I was the only woman in the ensemble

April 30, 2017 by norman lebrecht

4 comments.


Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s widow, now 86, has given a moving interview about the early days of the Concentus Musicus Wien and how her husband persuaded her to go against the conventions of the time and become its concertmaster.

Interview here.


Comments (4)

  1. Petros Linardos says:

    Thank you for bringing to our attention this interview.
    It is very interesting and wide ranging, mostly about Nikolaus H. The gender question feels almost like a side note. I’d be more curious to know if having Alice H as concert master was considered nepotism. But she doesn’t address that question.

    1. Max Grimm says:

      “I’d be more curious to know if having Alice H as concert master was considered nepotism.”

      I don’t think so. After all, she cofounded the ensemble and the initial members were virtually all close friends of the Harnoncourts at that.

      1. William Osborne says:

        There is a long tradition in Vienna of family members working together in ensembles, especially children, since this is thought to insure stylistic continuity. There is now even a father-daughter pair in the VPO.

    2. Nik says:

      He also worked very frequently with his daughter, the mezzo-soprano Elisabeth von Magnus. You can call it nepotism if you want, but she is excellent and they worked well together, so it’s difficult to find anything wrong with the arrangement.


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