Ever since her emergence in the early 1970s, Elizabeth Wallfisch has pursued a triple-threat career as a violinist with a range of repertory from the Baroque to the contemporary, and as a conductor/leader of various period music ensembles.
She was a natural musician from early childhood and made her debut as a concerto soloist at age 12. She also performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in the final of the ABC Concerto Competition and later studied under Fredericke Grinke at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she distinguished herself with the President's Prize and other awards. Her other early awards include the Franco Gulli Senior Prize for violin at the Accademica Chigiana at age 20 and a shared win of the Mozart Memorial Prize later that year. She distinguished herself as a Baroque specialist in 1974 when she won the prize for most outstanding performance of Bach in the Carl Flesch Competition.
Wallfisch emerged as a recitalist in the mid-1970s, as well as performing as a guest soloist with various orchestras in her native Australia and in England. After establishing herself as a concert artist in England with the London Mozart Players and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Wallfisch turned her attention and skills toward the Baroque violin and began developing her reputation and technique in that highly specialized area, as a conductor and leader, as well as a soloist. Her broadcasts and early recordings led Wallfisch to found the Locatelli Trio in 1989 in collaboration with Paul Nicholson and Richard Tunnicliffe, through which she began giving recitals of Baroque music, and she has regularly led the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Wallfisch's most notable recordings have been in conjunction with the latter group, with which she has done the complete violin concerto works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Josef Haydn. She has also performed the works of C.P.E. Bach, J.M. Kraus, and Josef Myslivecek, and such English composers as Thomas Arne. Although most closely identified with Baroque repertory, Wallfisch has also performed such works as Johannes Brahms' Double Concerto for Violin and Cello and Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. Her repertory extends up to such late Romantics as Richard Strauss, post-Romantics including Igor Stravinsky, modernists including Dmitry Shostakovich, and to the works of contemporary Australian composers Peter Sculthorpe and Esther Rofe. Wallfisch has held academic positions, including artist-in-residence at Melbourne University, but is primarily a performing musician. Her engagements have included tours with the Hanover Band under Roy Goodman during the 2000-01 season. She is married to cellist Raphael Wallfisch, with whom she has also performed.