Valley of Life | Online Memorial Blog

Michael Steinberg, music critic, dies at 80


SteinbergRevered classical music critic Michael Steinberg died last Sunday, July 26. Steinberg was a victim of cancer, which he was diagnosed with more than three years ago. He was 80.

Fellow music critic, Tim Smith, offers a thoughtful and enlightening synopsis of Steinberg’s influence in his column, Clef Notes:

For anyone in my profession, Mr. Steinberg was a major inspiration, if not intimidation — his knowledge was so vast, his writing so incisive and involving that he set the bar very high. As music critic of the Boston Globe, he exerted considerable influence on the cultural life of the city. Later, as program annotator for the San Francisco Symphony and other orchestras, he enlightened many a concert-goer. His books on symphony and concerto repertoire are among the most astute reference guides you can find.

Steinberg was born on October 4, 1928 in Germany. His childhood was spent in England, and he later immigrated to the United States with his mother and brother. There, he studied at Princeton. Years later, he served at the Manhattan School of Music, Smith College, Hunter College, Brandeis University, and the New England Conservatory.

Steinberg held staff positions in a number of symphony orchestras, wrote countless program notes, and was also a prominent narrator and prolific author.

He is survived by his wife, and his two sons and their families.

[photo: Terrence McCarthy]

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