On July 26, music writer, critic, teacher, and program annotator Michael Steinberg died at the age of 80.
His writing about music is amazing – I recommend reading his music listening guides
His essays are also featured in
For the Love of Music
, which I’m just starting to read. These books are all available at my local library; you can probably also find them in a library near you.
For more about Steinberg, read "Michael Steinberg Remembered," by Mark Swed, and listen to Steinberg himself in the NPR piece “An Appreciation of the Symphony.”
I have just one personal note to add to all the tributes already out there.
Michael Steinberg spoke to several classes at Indiana University when I was a student there, and I was very taken with the way he spoke and wrote about music. I was especially inspired by him telling us how he got into writing about music.
He studied musicology at Princeton, and he received a Fulbright scholarship to study in Italy. Before leaving for Italy, Steinberg wrote to the New York Times, to let them know he’d be there – in case they wanted any reviews.
When he got there, he reported to the local bureau, and he was sent out to write 400 words about a concert. They liked what he wrote, and other assignments followed. From there he went on to write reviews and program notes and share his knowledge and love of music with the world.
He knew his music, he wrote wonderfully, and he went for it.
The same week, choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham passed away at 90. He was a towering figure in the dance world, and he also left a mark on the world of avant-garde classical music through collaborations with composer John Cage. The Mediavore has a collection of remembrances of Merce Cunningham.
Since I do not want to dwell too much on loss, let's end with a story of musical discovery.