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Doris Ornstein (Harpsichord, Arranger)

Born: August 7 or 8, 1930 - New York City, New York, USA
Died: August 30, 1992 - Cleveland, Ohio, USA

The American harpsichordist, music pedagogue and arranger, Doris Lee Ornstein, studied at the University of Illinois (1958-1959), and Mannes College of Music (1961-1962). Among her teachers was the harpsichordist Sylvia Marlowe.

Doris Ornstein made her debut at Severance Chamber Hall in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966. She gave master-classes and recitals throughout the USA. She was director and harpsichordist of Celeveland Baroque Soloists, an early music group. She regularly performed as a soloist at Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival, American Shaekspeare Festival, Matrix-Midland Festival, Boulder Bach Festival, Los Angeles Harpsichord Centre, and other music festivals throughout the country.

Doris Ornstein was on the Faculty of Oberlin Conservatory ((1971-1972). She had a joint appointment as Artist-in-Residence at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) (1967-1992) and Director of Early Music Studies at Cleveland Institute of Music, where she taught the harpsichord. She also was solo harpsichordist and Faculty member at Aspen Music Festival (1972-1984).

Doris Ornstein appeared and played in the soundracks for 2 films sponsored by National Endowment for Humanities: Harpsichord Building in America (late 1960's) and The Staging of Shaekspeare. She had radio appearances on National Public Radio; 2 recitals in New York sponsored by the Carnegie Hall Corporation. Recordings include: The Three Sonatas for Viola da gamba and Harpsichord (BWV 1027-1029) by J.S. Bach with Catherine Meints (Gasparo Records). She contributed to the first complete edition of George Frideric Handel's Cantata Mi Pelpita il Cor, with realization and accompanying article in Bach Magazine (1979).

Doris Ornstein married Robert Ornstein on August 19, 1931. Robert Ornstein (1927-2004) was Professor of English at CWRU (1966-2004), an internationally respected Shakespeare scholar and an award-winning film-maker. They had 1 son (Adam) and 2 daughters (violinist Lisa Ornstein and Suzanne Ornstein).

Source: International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); Bits & pieces from various sources
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2014)

Doris Ornstein: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Keyboard Transcriptions:
Works | Recordings

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Fiora Contino


BWV 82 [w/ bass Thomas Paul]

Leslie Guinn (Bass)


BWV 56

Dwight Oltman


BWV 51 [1st, w/ soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson]

Thomas Paul (Bass)


BWV 82

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