Ernest F. Erhardt Jr.
August 8, 1946-August 17, 2021
Tenured Cello since 1972
Ernest F. Erhardt Jr., more affectionately known by family, friends and colleagues as Ernie, developed a passion for music at an early age. Adopting the cello at age seven, he spent a life in the pursuit of orchestral and studio work which landed him his first professional job at the Houston Symphony under the direction of Sir John Barbirolli and Sir Andre Previn. The youngest cellist ever hired by that orchestra, it wouldn’t be the last time he set such a milestone - he was also the youngest cellist hired by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta.
Ernie also served as principal cellist with the Tulsa Philharmonic, the American Ballet Theater, the Jeoffrey Ballet, and the Pasadena Pops. He was a member of the Tulsa Philharmonic Quartet and would eventually serve as the assistant principal with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, gaining tenure in 1972.
His illustrious studio work included numerous recordings across a breadth of repertoire, from orchestral to classical music, operatic and popular genres, as well as television and movies. He had the pleasure of working with Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, and Madonna to name just a few and enjoyed accompanying a number of stage shows.
In fact, Ernie held the distinction of being the only cellist on The Lawrence Welk Show for its last seven years and remarkably played for six United States Presidents.
“I am lucky that I love what I do,” Ernie once said, “and it has brought me so many opportunities and allowed me to play across the Unites States to the Orient and Europe.”
His passion for teaching never waned as he held positions at Oral Roberts University, University of Tulsa and Occidental College, as well as a roster of private students.
Ernie resided in Burbank at a home once owned by Gordon Robinson, the composer for Liberace, with his beloved wife Maureen.