The German contralto Marga Höffgen (1921-1995) was born in Mülheim an der Ruhr and studied at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik with Hermann Weissenborn before making her concert debut in 1952. Later that year she made a highly successful appearance in Vienna in Bach's St Matthew Passion under Karajan. From then on she was active as a concert singer throughout Europe. Höffgen also appeared at Covent Garden in London in 1959 as Erda, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires and the Bayreuth Festival. Marga Höffgen was one of the leading contralto singers of Bach's vocal works during the 1950s and the 1960s and recorded with a number of the leading conductors of the day.