Classical Music
Classical Home
Classical Music Playlists
WKSU 3 Classical Channel
Summa Health System

On AirNewsClassical
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Wayside Furniture

Akron Children's Hospital

Knight Foundation

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

Alice Chalifoux and her dressing room
Alice Chalifoux and her
personal dressing room

If you heard the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center Sunday evening (3 August 2008), you heard the legacy of an extraordinary musician and human.

Cleveland Orchestra harpist Trina Struble shared with principal clarinet Franklin Cohen the solo duties in Cleveland-born composer Eric Ewazen’s Ballade. Struble was one of the hundreds of students nurtured by the orchestra’s harpist from 1931 to 1974, Alice Chalifoux. So was Telarc recording artist Yolanda Kondonassis.

Chalifoux died Thursday in Winchester, Virginia, at the age of 100.

Along with some of her students, Chalifoux appeared as part of the Music from Stan Hywet series. These programs were broadcast on WKSU during the 1980s. Of course, she also played in countless Cleveland Orchestra programs. As harpist under five music directors — Nikolai Sokoloff, Artur Rodzinski, Erich Leinsdorf, George Szell and Lorin Maazel — she made many broadcasts and recordings with the orchestra. Hers is the solo harp you hear on the 1967 Boulez recording of Debussy’s Danse sacree et profane.

For some years Chalifoux was the only female member of The Cleveland Orchestra. Faced with concert halls that had no facilities for women, she would use her harp case as a dressing room. By the time she retired in 1974, thirteen other women had joined her in the orchestra’s ranks.

Chalifoux’s teachers included the great Carlos Salzedo. She inherited his school and taught for years at the Salzedo Harp Colony in addition to the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory, and Baldwin-Wallace.

She is survived by a daughter and a niece.

Listen to part of Danses sacree et profane

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Share This Entry:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • e-mail
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

Tags: , ,

One Response to “Harpist and Teacher Alice Chalifoux, 1908-2008”

  1. Alex from Performance Today Says:

    This is Alex from Performance Today. I just wanted to let you know that Fred Child linked to you from his blog Fredlines, which you can check out here: .

    Thanks for this obit, and for the great story about Alice using her case as a dressing room!

    We just wrapped up a week’s worth of programs featuring the Cleveland Orchestra. You or your listeners should drop by and read the great memories people have of hearing this great orchestra for the first time…or contribute your own.

Leave a Reply


Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University