In Memoriam: Alice Schoenfeld, 1921-2019

Alice Schoenfeld, professor emerita of violin at the University of Southern California, passed away on May 25, 2019. She was 98 years old.

A native of Yugoslavia, Professor Schoenfeld made her professional music debut with the Berlin Philharmonic at age 10. She immigrated to the United States with her sister, Eleonore Schoenfeld, in 1952. Both sisters joined the faculty at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1959. Schoenfeld taught for over 50 years and retired as a professor emerita in 2016. For her accomplished teaching career, Professor Schoenfeld earned the USC Ramo Music Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2008 Artist Teacher Award from the American String Teacher’s Association

In addition to teaching, Schoenfeld was a philanthropic supporter of the Thornton School of Music. In 2013, she donated $10 million to the school, which was the largest gift to USC by a longtime faculty member at that time. Those funds supported the renovation of the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Symphonic Hall and created the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Endowed Scholarship Fund, which supports USC Thornton string students. She also founded the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition in China and the Schoenfeld International Music Society.

“The passing of Alice Schoenfeld, whose strong musical presence and vibrant character proved so influential in the lives of her many students and in the development of the USC Thornton School of Music over a period of 60 years, is mourned by all of us who worked so closely with her in the Thornton Strings Department,” said Ralph Kirshbaum, the Gregor Piatigorsky Chair in Violoncello and Chair of the Strings Department at USC Thornton. “She will not be soon forgotten.”

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