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Janina A. Ehrlich

Janina A. Ehrlich

Professor of Music; Cello, Music History

Janina Ehrlich is professor of cello and director of the honors quartet program at Augustana College, where she has taught since 1979.

Teaching cello and chamber music are at the core of her life as a musician; guiding students to higher levels of expression is her greatest passion. In her music history course, Dr. Ehrlich introduces students to the glories of Western music; in her J-term course (“From Ashes to Immortality: The Arts and the Holocaust”) she encourages students to ask challenging questions about the arts, their own humanity, and the need for empathy and goodness as they live their lives.

An active performing schedule allows Dr. Ehrlich to explore the cello repertoire. Recent projects have included John Tavener's "The Protecting Veil" (as soloist with the Augustana Symphony) and, with pianist Charles Schmidt, a program of music by Jewish composers.

With colleagues Deborah Dakin (viola) and Robert Elfline (piano) she is a member of Tikkun, which performs a diverse body of music from the 19th century to the present.

Preparing future teachers is a primary concern in the string area at Augustana College. Dr. Ehrlich lends expertise to this mission by mentoring her cello teaching assistants and their pre-college cello students, and maintaining a pre-college class of her own.  

For 15 years, Dr. Ehrlich was the music director at the SBC Music Academy, a non-profit academy that provides music lessons to children from the economically challenged families. More than 70 Augustana College students have volunteered their time to teach all instruments and voice.

Dr. Ehrlich is the founder and faculty advisor to the Augustana student ASTA chapter and served as president and secretary for the Illinois chapter of the American String Teachers Association. From 1998 to 2000, she organized the first IL-ASTA Teacher Enrichment Workshops and, in 1999, was presented with the state’s Distinguished Service Award.

Since 2015, Dr. Ehrlich has served as the Director of the Center for the Study of Judaism and Jewish Culture. Generous endowments have facilitated the center to grow, offering scholarships to Jewish students, bringing scholarly and musical programs to campus, and offering a student competition “Responses to the Holocaust."

Specializations: Chamber music, Cello, Music History


  • B.M., Drake
  • M.M., Indiana
  • D.M.A., Iowa