Charlotte Zelka, a pianist who toured Europe for two decades before returning to Southern California and founding the Almont Ensemble, died Oct. 6 in Monrovia. She was 71.
Zelka was born Charlotte Lois Zelkowitz in Monrovia, where her parents operated a shoe store. She began playing the piano at age 3, and by her teens was studying at the Juilliard School in New York and later with famed pianist Artur Schnabel and his son, Karl.
In her 20s, she moved to Vienna, using it as her base for two decades while she performed throughout Europe. She married the writer-philosopher Gunter Anders, performed with Die Reihe, a chamber music group, and taught at the Vienna Boys Choir School.
In the early 1970s, she returned to Monrovia and opened a studio in Alhambra. She helped launch the Almont Ensemble, now the resident group of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, where she also was a longtime instructor.