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William Steinberg

William Steinberg


Born in Cologne, William (Hans Wilhelm) Steinberg showed an early talent for conducting and became an assistant to the greta Otto Klemperer in his mid-twenties, ultimately succeeding him at the Cologne Opera - the first of several operatic posts.

Dismissed from the Frankfurt Opera by the National Socialist authorities in 1933 - the brownshirts reportedly barged into a rehearsal in progress and physically removed him - he moved to British Palestine and worked with the forerunner of today's Israel Philharmonic. There he met, and made a great impression on, Arturo Toscanini, but his stay in Palestine was only brief, as he emigrated to the United States in 1938.

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After several positions conducting orchestras in the USA, he became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1952 - a post he held until 1976, despite persistent rumours that he was seeking to move elsewhere. Among the qualities that endeared him to both his musicians and his audiences was a rare ability to poke fun at himself and not take himself too seriously.

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