Sadness: Alice Harnoncourt died todayNews
The lifelong partner of Nikolaus von Harnoncourt, co-founder and concertmaster of Concentus Musicus Wien and mother of four children, reached the end of her mortal journey today.
Alice Hoffelner-Harnoncourt was 91. Her husband died in 2016.
They had been married devotedly for 63 years.
The end of an era. Rest in peace and thanks for all the wonderful musical memories.
What a wonderful, elegant, deeply gifted and fearless partner she has been to one of the greatest European Kulturträger Nikolaus Harnoncourt. What a gift to have met both more often.
Very sad to read of her passing. And shocked to realize that her husband had passed away 6 years ago — it seems much more recent. Both left indelible imprints on musical performance.
I heard her play 44 years ago. A marvelous artist.
“mortal journey”? Is there any other one about which we should know?
Like Marie Leonhardt (also principal violinist of her husband’s ensemble), one of the greats and an essential partner/collaborator. Women such as these should be acknowledged far more often and far more prominently. Alice Harnoncourt WAS the sound of Concentus Musicus..
Many memories come to mind: when Harnoncourt and Ponnelle did the – in hindsight ground-breaking – Monteverdi opera cycle at the Zurich Opera House in the mid-seventies, Alice was always there, her graceful, quiet and knowledgeable presence adding a practical and down-to-earth touch to the sometimes exalted discussions about interpretation of the two gentlemen. She will be sorely missed!
She was a wonderful and beautiful woman. I have been very lucky to meet her and Nikolaus many times.
Many years ago, while still a student, Alice was going to eat lunch with my teacher, and she sat patiently in the classroom while I destroyed Brahms 2. Sonate until my lesson was finished. She saw that I was very frustrated after having played so badly, and then had some very encouraging words for me. That was the day I met her.
A few weeks later I went to a music store to buy a set of strings, asked about the price of a very nice set, but it was too high, so I told the owner of the store that I would buy ta cheaper set. Alice was in the store and overheard the conversation, came to me and told me I should get the X brand strings [the nice and expensive ones]. I replied that the set was too expensive for me. Then she told the man that I was taking two sets of the expensive ones and paid them for me as a gift! She was incredibly nice and generous and she will be deeply missed.
Rest in peace, dear Alice.
What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing.
A cute picture of them in their youth!
Here’s what Alice Harnoncourt once said in an interview: “Solange wir diese einfache Musik gemacht haben, Barockmusik, da hab ich praktisch nie geübt.” — This was a huge part of the problem.
Married 63 years (not 53…)
Is that them in the top photo? It’s almost unbearably poignant to see them looking so young.
And if it’s not too much of a cliché, thank you for the music.
My mother turns 91 tomorrow and is unwell and in the hospital. I can’t help but think of the lives that generation led.