William Steinberg

William Steinberg
Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times


William Steinberg
Music: West side of the 1600 block of Vine Street
Born Hans Wilhelm Steinberg on Aug. 1, 1899 in Cologne, Germany
Died May 16, 1978 in Lenox Hill Hospital, NY

William Steinberg was a renowned Jewish conductor who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 and led numerous famous symphonies around the world, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Born in Cologne, Germany, Steinberg attended the Cologne Conservatory of Music and by the age of 19 became a prize-winning conductor. Highly successful as a conductor and music director in Prague and Berlin for more than 10 years, Steinberg was eventually forced to resign from the Berlin Symphony in 1933 because he was Jewish. For two years he gave concerts before Jewish audiences using leading unemployed Jewish musicians.

When Nazi pressure mounted, Steinberg fled Germany in 1938 and founded the Palestine Symphony (now the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra). In 1938, Arturo Toscanini invited Steinberg to come to the United States to help organize the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which he served as associate conductor. From 1945 to 1952, he was the music director for the Buffalo Philharmonic, and from 1952 to 1976, he was the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Steinberg guest-conducted and briefly directed at the: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.

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