She was the youngest of four children born to merchant and violinist Oliver Chalifoux and his wife, harpist Alice Hallé Chalifoux in Birmingham, Alabama. After learning to play from her mother and continuing as a music student in local schools, Alice was accepted as a student of Carlos Salzedo at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Through her work with that orchestra under the direction of such legendary conductors as Erich Leinsdorf, Artur Rodzinski, George Szell, Pierre Boulez, and Loren Maazel, Chalifoux quickly became recognized as a specialist in orchestral technique. Her recording of the Debussy Danses sacrée et profane with the Cleveland Orchestra received a Grammy Award in 1996. Chalifoux was known as a strong advocate of the method for the harp developed by Salzedo, but she also earned a reputation as a teacher in her own right through her many years spent teaching at The Cleveland Institute of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music. Chalifoux was the primary instructor at the Salzedo Summer Harp Colony, in Camden, Maine, where she succeeded Salzedo after his death in 1961. Her students continue to hold posts with major orchestras.