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Conversation with William Steinberg. This is another in a continuing series of programs each of which offers the listener a rare opportunity to hear an eminent musician informally discussing his own career and expressing his thoughts about a variety of topics related to the art of music. The regular participants in these discussions are Aaron Parsons professor of music theory at Northwestern University's School of Music and program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And George Stone program director for Zenith radio corporation's serious music station WEAA FM in Chicago. Mr. Parsons and Mr. Stone have as their guest on today's program William Steinberg music director of both the Pittsburgh and Boston Symphony Orchestras for the past several years he has been the principal guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Now here is George Stone. Mr. Steinberg This seems to be a time when many prominent conductors are finding the beauties of the music directorship of a major symphony orchestra too demanding. We've
heard many express the idea that this has almost become too huge a responsibility for one man to carry and yet next season you will be music director of not one but two of the most prominent orchestras in America. Do you have any misgivings about accepting this dual responsibility for the Pittsburgh and Boston Symphony orchestras. I have not misgivings of any kind on this. I am however Fitbit to answer the question because this is a question which is mostly asked. To be answered by me we could let Lee do I will right from the very outset state that my activities with these both orchestras will be so arranged that our conducting working because it's not only conduct it's also the governmental part of the work house season. With each of the orchestras 15 weeks in Boston it's 16 weeks in Pittsburgh. And this is the way it can be done and I would like to
say that this is not so much a problem which concert said it is more a problem which concerns the minute you get part of it. I had experience of similar kinds. Yes we just passed with the New York Philharmonic where it was sort of too obvious just for the money and symphony at the same time and it was also there in many jail question so far as the managers have to map out my activities. And each must be admitted that since quite a number of guests on doctors have to be engaged for the in-between periods that this is rather a tricky job and it's relevant compared to a kind of game of chess. How it fits and how one can do it but it proved that as well the beats work managed and now the Boston Pittsburgh men just work very well together and can manage this
complicated task. What then up to me later there's something else I must say as long as I would stay in good health and manage this enormous job which comprises as far as the preparations advanced comprises one hundred twenty concerts between the two cases for me which is a must need quiet. Yes Ellen is quite a lot but I am used to these enormous loads in this country of no. The need for music can be satisfied. Repeats many concerts so that all customers of the same music lovers have a chance to attend. And this is one of the reasons why the symphony schedule has to be so elaborate. Look at Boston where every fan service played really for the times when every concert has to be four times in order to get our
customers in Pittsburgh is different in so far as we do have these monstrous hard courts must with a capacity of 4000 people. But we get all our people in two weekends concerts and almost seem any amount of human beings can be led into the concerts in Pittsburgh a book on account of a large truck and in the other aforementioned city. When are you you have had previous experience even previous to Lee New York Philharmonic period when you were conducting regularly the London Philharmonic. This was in about nineteen fifty eight I believe. Yeah this of course involves something else in that there was even more travel. It was really to use the strange term a commuting job he had there was something from one concept in America. Next morning to London which was very strenuous but it's somehow back and it was
arranged so if my memory serves me right that I would stop that out of the English season in order to take over then my duties in Pittsburgh returned our Christmas time and again at the end of the Pittsburgh season and paved then quite a number of weeks even months in lawn and warm weather which was not participating in any I could be down it was very fatiguing until after three years I thought it's enough now not to speak about the fact that I was engaged to do a job I save it in quotations to do a job because the orchestra feel that money was not it's a terribly good shape. And I was asked to do something about it at right by the very best that I succeeded on out it's not on me to do it. Well Mr. Steinberg This is the kind of job that you have been engaged to do a number of times during your career. And these are things that we
want to talk about later. Right now I think it would be very interesting to go back to the very beginning of all this. You were born in Cologne and as we understand your mother was the primary influence musical influence in your life when she had a musician he was a musician but how much of musician he was not a professional about you was a highly gifted person. Personality it as he would say with a lot of us which I have very much with what could be emphasized music not the least amount of uncertainty and he found out very soon that the Delhi boy I was for five was interested in music. And there were those primarily to question how to express all these you know it's the music because I was not getting schooled. I didn't know that I forbade it and I certainly did not know the notes. And it has to be done something to be done about it. My mother preceded me in these very early
years so that she bought colored pencils and then. Draw on a piece of paper on a music staff. Large notes which were filled out with different colors of pencils but you had at her disposal you know other to make it clear what is a HOF coach what is a quarter note it's a god set on what is an H note and so on and so on and this is the way I learned to distinguish between the different notes and will very well that the musical scale on my piano started with the tone I see the so-called middle C on a piano. And I do remember that when I came to school I came protesting the loud when my mother asked me how I liked the first school day I say look at the idea that my teacher cheats because he states the alphabet starts he's 8.
See that's what I found out. It took time to persuade me that peace is not the case now anyhow so let's stop that if you want me to go on. Then I got my first piano instruction from my mother about a year ago. Must have been about five and a half years old and my mother thought at that time that we should proceed to the famous studies back out. Chani was a student of Beethoven and his school of the Lost City and all his other schools famous and the most torturous remembrances of all young budding pianist and also I was one of those who are still being condemned to practice studies by a chant which I didn't want because I found them simply to Bali. What you have in mind my mother asked me to say I compose my own studies which I did and my mother said all right if this is the case we stop piano lessons. Thanks to a bit of aid so we stop piano lessons and I went on composing my own studies not only this
but also composing works of larger formats like sort out US and symphonies. Without us certainly not knowing what I was actually doing. Anyhow when I was about 9. And just fiddling around this way I really got benefited. Speaking about the C word and I've started to study the violin without ever neglecting to compose and to play the piano and any I have played so much that age later age means for 15 minutes or so I could play along at the municipal orchestra of my birthplace Cologne in Germany. This was just at the beginning of the First World War that was a great chart at musicians and they were very glad to get gifted students to play along and the orchestra made up in August about Also at the so-called gifts in age or cared for. It's called vote or my first knowledge of the go eat at my Starbucks I also got my
great knowledge of the conductors of the good ones and if I may say so the bad ones. You know this was kind of a lesson of which cannot be made up by anything as by just personal experience how it feels to play on the contact. Good or bad as the case may be later on now either for instance today I was told that I had no bad contacts at all and to have to take these wet because newspaper say so many music lovers say so. I personally with draw from putting on any a personal opinion of mine it doesn't make any sense. It's an opinion who is good and who is bad and by the way who knows who is good and who is paid God in heaven may be alone he knows it. If he has a sufficient practice to judge from doctors. Well you are of course by the time you were playing the violin in this orchestra in Cologne you have already conducted on at least one occasion conducted a performance of a work of your own
a choral work it was the opening of the metamorphosis of videos not so we can use correct names because this is the word which is rather very close to be and uses you know at the time you hear it it is the introduction to easy you know what you have to name a small town trustee to the foremast and I did this or wrote this man's chorus and school orchestra and I performed this work when I was I think the U.S. Look at my biography everything is to understand and only I cannot remember how to live. Well just like any I whatever the case might be I did this because I remember the repercussions. These things are from this time on my teachers hate me and I got nothing but bad notes I never forget my chemistry teacher I hated hated hated everything which was not chemistry a little one sided mind who thinks
this way. I always go to bed. It was my life. I mean mathematics it was simply ghastly. And I had to pay for the 68 Xeno by fast anymore as most of us these of but it was the beginning of something and it was actually I think the first time that I contacted the great arm somebody seeing an instrumentalist in almost the beginning of my conduct. Pick DVDs. When you say that a conductor is born or developed both He's born and he has to develop and I do not believe that one can learn conducting differently than one conducted and I say this or so in many cases also in writing that this is the only way conducting can be and can be accomplished. To use a bit of wood. And this accomplishment can be only done and on be gotten by plexus
and practice in conduct that is a better opportunity and hitting opportunity just lots of it he especially nothing has come to it. Opposite to all the opportunities we jump and doctors do have in German speaking countries with this conscious opera houses and countless orchestras. There is no such very little such chance in this country it is a reason why young conductors either have to go abroad. Oh they have to just grab every opportunity which is offered to them in form of communities or gets the university orchestras. Whatever the case may be because one does not engage young conductor lazed practice in conducting it. I was wondering as to time going if you know at what point that you decided that you would be a conductor rather than a violinist. Was it some time at the age of 13 when you conducted this original composition of your own. Did this happen later.
OK I don't want to be a coward and certainly not in my answers and never became a coward. I'm sorry that I make such pauses because by Piper doesn't mean I said it just in order to inform our listeners that I'm not exactly stuttering. I must say I say I'm not a coward. And actually the place budgeted for my being a conductor I wanted to be a pianist and a composer because I wanted to travel for a short while as a pianist when I was 16 17 years old it was my mother who made me conduct of these was one part of my destiny because she fanned the little boy's head is strange enough that only mother instinct can work so precisely by the way it's not a stage it's quite matter that I had to leave that question. This sounds kind of inflated but everything about it. And I just want to state the fact that in order to be a conductor one must be a leader and not only a leader of musicians but also a leader of human beings which is
something which lies in your nature. Either you have everything you don't. And my mother thought I have it and the second person who is responsible for my abandoning my pianists and boasting dreams. It was the famous doctor I'm still working today at the age of 85 who was at the time of my early development. The first contact of the Opera in Cologne my birthplace and to hit it hit me a company for artists and musicians you know to make this a little clearer. I would like to say that the main musical body in the city like a lone voice certainly the orchestra the municipal orchestra and when there was a necessity of listening to the play I see those getting substitutes are the ones who had to be dismissed because I'm good enough. There were other Asians and I use the. Climb student of the
conservatory and study was selected to two companies. The people who were afterward slated for being members of the municipal August and these auditions were headed by the so-called municipal conductor who in my case was my time. Have been told he for the concerts and the boss of the Opera House and here was the first chance that I got hold of me and he said the thing was over you come to me you come to my money at the opera house and you know I don't want to but what you have in mind mind he said before these. They want to hear and want to have a different kind of a career but he said No I think you have a man whom I wanted and need you come to my office at the Opera House and they're big.
If you form an audition I have to do this in order to prove to my damned intent and Germany's what I would call it here. General manager that you are my man and that you made it so stupid remember that he said being at the piano and not far from this was a book shiftiness. Now blindfolded Lee pick out a pianist but you have to sight read and see how you do it and what he picked out was that Wagner seek Slate I think everyone who knows a pianist of the age of honesty goes unbelievably difficult especially for somebody like me not only that I was an avid and nonviolent at that time. So for somebody who had simply no idea about Wagner. Mystique music except for the tired Anyhow he just opened up the book and I played it must have been very bad. And then when it was over it's time that it was
lousy but I would accept you know it's he that I got last but tell it and so it wasn't really about here he was in and it works very fast. And after less than a horrid season I even got my first conducting assignment which was to take over. And then he conducted the opera singing which one does not know in this country. Floating is one of those mid 19th century romantic composers full of imagination full of rather small scale to portray. And also if I might say so with all due respect small scale music but any out this is not the point to discuss the last 16 of the fact is only that I had to contact and do that or in my own teachers instrumental as well as conducting from the conservator was playing in the orchestra and he
was a poor chap didn't see and hear anything else but. Having the eyes of these men fixed upon me and it only had one wish to disappear from this earth as fast as I want to do another thing went over with our great great catastrophes At least that's what I wish to remember whether it's really the case and I think it's way after this one. And so it went and after this that I had to take over the opera house and went gray came in quickly very very quickly into it. I would like to say that these are the things which unfortunately young American conductors have to miss because they do not exist yet. After all in this country besides the college and university enterprises exactly to him to have. But I think institutions and police gentlemen do not ask me which one the Hafiz because first of all I would not answer.
And secondly somebody said it's good to have the feeling to be the culprit and therefore I don't want to say that but. It proves sufficiently that the operatic Institute in this country except as I said before the college and university workshops have no use for young body contact that they must have people who really knows the difference and that's the way we used. From a very early age and to learn the trade because contracting is just a trade as every other trade offs. And if you do not learn your trade you simply are lost. You may be the genius number one among the conductors and if you didn't know how to do it. If you don't have sufficient experience you are lost no matter how much talent you have. Because if you have no practice as I said before if you don't enough conducting contact the man learns from conducting and if you are not contact him you will never get it and you can be as great as ever you want and even one ought to tell you this also.
The newspapers because the newspaper has to know these things very many don't. Most of them as also does the audience sees what kind of movement what kind of motion it's exposed to and the mother of young gents dancing around the most beautiful it is the greatest genius is supposed to be the thing. Do you do you think that all that informed music lovers and I think there are more than we realize actually take this kind of ballet master approach on the part of the conductor. Seriously many do. There's no doubt because they like you very much to see that's going on on the stage and they have entirely forgotten. That with the actually great conductors that was not very much to see. For instance if you think of great or to venerate it's Maestro Tuscany. He looked in conducting exactly like
he beat conductor who had absolutely nothing more to offer than the absolutely necessary things which he had to indicated because he knew as well as ever really contact the real conductor or can know that conducting sets only says itself the music and it serves the orchestra no more and not less but certainly no more if not by way of this the audience get something out of it the better of late but this is a cure perhaps for which the Doctor is there. If you imagine a man like one of us it was a must. An interesting and inspiring thing to watch you as if you. Nobody is old enough to remember after that was simply absolute nothing to be seen and this is something new but young people are taking my body in order to come to the fore in order to show their interest in order to show their stupendous memory in order to show that temperament you know to show that they are not afraid of lots of lovely bits to see. They're going to say you know and speaking and
making doing it spectacular for the audience. I had complained once to conduct an orchestra behind the screen so that the audience again learns to listen to the music with their ears and not listen with their eyes as what they're doing today. Most of the time all of these certainly does NOT away with the fact that quite a number of young very gifted people. I would like to say that they're only in a kind of a transitory stage in which I do not know what the I have to offer in order to attract sufficient attention if they overcame all hope. I would think that will overcome this stage. It will then show whether that talent is actually sufficient you know to make them safe. The latest with expect to be you indicated that the early training in the opera pit was less essential to the train conductor. How does this technique are this ability to handle the Orkney Opera Orchestra transfer to the
symphony. You just say it. So except in its absence there's absolutely no difference. The only thing one has to learn how to cope with enormous distances. After all they are the operatic conductors sometimes so far away look at the big houses here especially in this country. From this from the stage one has to learn what to do how to measure the for instance the lapse of time in the development of the actual sound and his way of singing is also instrumental playing this I think but which one has to become that a distinct feeling and which can only be developed in actual practice and not watching by the way watching. It's also a kind of school in this country. I may say so that he says he hopes Irving school a lot of people who even give a grand speech by the way I don't want to say anything against his love the people who want to get
rid of that tax free money and to for young students to observe the mass to contact us from nobody let you learn. Yes all his peculiarities and all the things which he does not actually do belong to the business but the business it's safe to get the feelings of. Balance of your own body opposite to what you need to know to express your music it will be complicated to him as to say it cannot be learned from books and since I hate to repeat my words what is it before that conducting can be only from conducting. One thing I know from observing It's not that one of the things you indicated in your writing is that there is no such thing as any technique of conducting. Rather it's the business of the conductor to learn to convey the hesitate to say but the meaning or the
significance of the music itself to the players and that becomes the central role and any kind of clumsy technique can do you most any kind of technique even though clumsy will convey that there is one but would be also a piece of meat me not to mention the name because I don't want to be part of it and I want certainly not to be aked as a critic to expect weeks especially one which is better than say who eats on account of his home. For you could set up clumsy. Not to speak at one of the conduct of the past also not to mention any name was clumsy and could be but still both these men have the enormous ability to transmit their will and their ideas to the players. How it's done doesn't make any difference to me that it is that this is it. And this is what shows a great conductor that he can do it. I have the book
The Art of conducting edited by Khalid bomb Baghdad yog. Quite a number of most interesting essays come by it. If the picture which is so petty being that it did and one doesn't know any more than that as a for instance the student. Thinking of Strauss his ideas about acting absolutely fabulous and to be much use as a guiding beacon to young conductors that he for instance say in his 10 golden rules for young conductors. I connect with the more but if you have them stick out in my mind where he said one conducts only with the right hand the left hand you better put it your waste bucket. If you don't know how to handle it because the left hand it's a very difficult instrument. I might even say or other dangerous weapon you can use.
They have to express that you have to say because a right hand is actually more or less for guiding. For people to think together for beating time these very popular expression is permitted but not for much more and if you have to say something with your left hand either do it really the way you can express something with it whatever it may be. Even as weapon as I said before or put it in your pocket. There's one of the things that he says so nicely. The conductor should Best Buy only if the audience is supposed to get warm to hear you sing lovely and many other things not to speak about his own music how it ought to be conducted which struck me since I opened the book season with two concert performances of stars and Electra which is no little thing that he said sullenly and Electra ought to be conducted as if they were composed by men. It's on for she certainly had a lovely
bird and if one knows cease well read between the lines what he wants to say if one understands easily it's the end of a long analysis about important places they stand in my eyes to see an impassive face. Yeah yeah. Conducting is a vanity involved in difficult business and finance to become 70 years of age to recognize this. Which means that only so many years are actually needed in order to get the experience which is necessary to feel such an imposed block in place and still being in front of an orchestra. To being in front of Mozart and Beethoven for whom one has to speak up and use of a sponsibility which not everybody can take I think in many cases when
I have very upbeat and sometimes spent of my in spite of my joke in a tone that every conductor ought to sleep at night just out of bad touch. Because if you have a good conscience then he would say what gives me the permission to stand up for Mozart and Beethoven who knows. Did they know. Not about this if I'm speaking about the fake let's not go into great details what about Beethoven's conducting and Beethoven's metronome indications and more just tempo markings etc. etc.. We don't know how things at that time he's been performed one thing I think we do know that people create slow and beat with it is one of the important things for the very good reason and that the beach was low on many vocal scores and the reason for the NPC easily recognized thinking the other way around. Why is it
possible that music of the great classic just played faster today it's faster to hit because the much greater perfection of the instrumental player has. You know the instrumental soloist in spite of all they have to was the singing of these types of efficiency would you sing us to if it's a tie to any out we don't know and to stand up for Mozart and Beethoven and say they get a few other ones like high that you bet and it's on Brahms that Wagner and Verdi and Milan won't but who certainly are closer to I think we know more about them and want to give the conductors a right to assume that I do say it the way it has to be done. These will remain rated to be facing every morning at 10 o'clock when I'm standing in front of my office whichever it would be you were listening to a conversation with William Steinberg with their own Parsons and George Stone. We paused 10 seconds for station identification.
Now resuming the conversation with William Steinberg here is George St.. Mr. Steinberg we've been told by one man who is a veteran of many many years that in line with what you have just said that between his first and second performances public performances of the Mozart G minor symphony some 25 years he lapsed because he was so dissatisfied with his first performance on that periodic play over this long period of time he really studied and contemplated the score before he was willing to even try performing it again in public. Have you ever felt this way about any piece of music.
I must say I want to see in many cases of these kind very carefully. But maybe even more carefully than the gentle many Christians who conducted 25 years ago humanity when even most of it was the study said by the way out of my head and who at this early age is dissatisfied with the times. And we chose that he must have a lot a lot of intelligence and a lot of integrity which certainly is a bad bitch anyhow. For instance I promised myself if never to conduct a greater work. Before I was 50 years old and I stopped it. How good my first sent Matthew Passion about how good my first be my last. I don't know and I don't wish to put on judgement on my own. But I only do know that I was certain it was advanced in maturity so that it could undertake a job like these.
If young people facing the same measure of passion for the first that they're so absolutely at a loss what to do with it. First of all there are no temple markings because nobody you know actually it's one thing it is a feeling and the experience which might teach him how to get deep into bombs. It needs the feeling for instance what a singer can actually executed with no. It's needs the knowledge of the acoustics of it needs the knowledge of the abilities of the orchestra to spin long notes as in the music. It's many times used and more then all of these to get into the intellectual contents of an enormous wealth of this kind and this in my opinion
cannot be done before a certain age or before certain degree of maturity is reached. And this is the reason why for instance I was obviously carefully choosing my very difficult books in too early and age although I must admit that since my career started. Rapidly between the 20s and 30s Yes I was exposed many times to great masterworks for which I am sure I was not sufficiently much of it. But it proved that my talent would carry me far enough to bring quite a fair result to the forum. Although I think that a fair result with regard to the great mass of exactly is not enough because it must come so close to perfection as something can become good effects or perfection. There is actually no perfection in performance whatsoever.
I think that there exists only one perfect performance and this is a performance which takes place in the composer's head when he's writing and it's the only one and he must try to strive for it to come as close to the speech as possible these are words. This is just blowing hot air and many of us were saying now he finally I hope he would shut up of that because he didn't say a word. You see out of all these states in the studio of conducting a deputy music East for a man like me who I am after all not so young anymore. Growing more and more deeply into the end of the No. If you actually would ask me what makes it that you have an effect on this August. I only can tell you I don't know and therefore it's all very strange or funny to observe how so many people wait exactly on festering on first side and also deeply convinced that judgments are
right one of the last to think about the audacity. Don't miss out on such a deep feeling and respect for the composer and for music itself. I wonder how you feel now about your career as a composer since you changed through the influence of your mother come for you to move toward conducting rather than piano and composition. I really I promptly started composing when I was 18 years old and on account of my mother again I would again have to quote these then I would love or. Human beings in my life she found respect for my actual talent heads as she called it not sufficient personnel already united in order to stand up with the young crop of conductors who were coming to the fore at that time.
As a composer composer and composers I don't want to speak of figures and back and just live in skin backtalk but I speak about the younger crowd who came at the time when I had to make my decisions. I am speaking of Hindi made of talk of why ask it I'd settle. Who were all people who wrote their own handwriting. As I like to use a bit of personal expression and my music was just a pleasant between all of Mozart Schumann Strauss no Wagner I would like to say but this came later. This is the second time you've mentioned that and I'm very curious about it because once before you said that at the time you were given that secret piano school and that I didn't know anybody didn't know any at all. Now surely in those years at college and then at the German opera house in Prague and in Frankfurt and Eileen
medley and at what point did this come up. When did you really have to dig into the very soon to begin including when I was I remember I contacted my first Wagner which was if my memory serves me right. Then came the Flying Dutchman. When I was about 24 years old 25 years of age and I was at the moment when I really kept myself busy you know this cause or staking but a really great volume that I started in POC when I was 25 years old that was the nights of my Prague. Yes. And study I sing that play startling about six days and then I was overcome by the good wideness to say that I wasn't a composer they said about I was and that's for me not to use these because just to see a composer would be enough for such a. When me personality no.
If you're with it for much of Wagner's ideologies and many people who have this also do i do things or do you think think that the lack of feeling this need belonging is something very lovable I think it's actually ghastly as is usual with all due respect which does not equate with the fact that when me and it's simply so if you is well executed and conduct play or as you Alison a great admirer comes comes and throws his magic cloak over your head and you are sick. And that's all that's it. To a certain degree by the way OT so OT so with House and staff since Magic is so heavy that even overlooked by means of these heaviness of the cloak these things which are of a secondary quite a lot of things in every piece but by the good shots may be the only exception of the WHO end
and death and Transfiguration which are great weaknesses and great banalities and great great length. Look at the head for instance somebody asked me Don't you think that his name is a good piece. I say Who am I to save a good piece I not only know that it's beautiful music and beautiful music a good piece is certainly not at all the same I think it had neva simply atrocious things happened. The laugh seems to sort of Eileen is exactly 50 percent too long not to speak about the popular expression I hope nobody will hit me with it. The silly Betton music studio style simply wants to show up when all it can do is put it upside down and that's a very beautiful music which is again due to the magic cloak.
But I think it's not the place to speak about how bad I was composed. When the Nazi scourge came about there in Germany and it seemed suddenly that a career that was advancing so brilliantly might come to a halt. You were involved in a program which I think in this country we know very little about and I think it would be interesting to hear something about the Jewish culture of league and Jewish culture clique which is very good translation for the doable and as it actually was. Call an NGO in Germany the idea originated but a very intelligent man the bellying doctor. I don't know whether he is known in this country he was a psychologist and he was a doctor and how much of a musician and he had the idea that something has to be done about the situation. And he appointed himself as first then down and stayed again
for general manager in belly. It's the same time I undertook a similar thing in Frankfurt in in assembling all Jewish musicians who had lost jobs through the Nazis and some of them Jewish. Yes they usually do but August in Frankfurt Ridge was very well flatten his situation but he made a lot of beautiful music. This was done in places where no non-Jews meet it and you can easily imagine that friends and non-Jewish didn't want to let us go so quickly and so easily not to speak about the fact that they knew about the great quality of our performances. Therefore under any cause under any circumstance that they have managed to get into these concepts of performance whatever the right side.
Even endangering being punished and many of them blow up a nation after they have discovered the thing was as I say it was mainly located in Frankfurt. And as mentioned before and I had seen the leading conduct of the Bellini situation left the country to take over for a short while and this was the moment then Bonnie's of whom the Polish violinist asked me to help him to establish an orchestra in the country at that time still called Palestine Israel. To establish a venti first rate orchestra which ought to be built up from all the musicians who lost Jewish musicians who lost that job through the new regime and this was something which willingly and with great enthusiasm interest was not so bad. I would like to say that
the first principal players for this orchestra when taken from these two orchestras in Frankfurt and in Berlin and many of them are still in you guessed it was founded in 1936 and you can easily figure out how old it is now after it hit its very Claudia 30 years ago. And the swell of the orchestra the two of them for the first time conducted by a famous guest conductor by the name of what those Gunny whom I also prefer the first two programs and which proved to be one of the best shaky musical events at that time and even speak of earth shaking I don't mean politically I mean artistically because the oldest there was in the very high plane it was at the beginning is simply incomparable to any other thing that would at least in the words of just any
of it no reason to be polite because he never was but that it is alive. He didn't want to and he didn't need to want to feel like you know it's really you know let me finish the very easy and so it's what started as I recall from what I have read of this you with that orchestra into shape in a comparatively short period of time after you had succeeded in recruiting players from all over Europe apparently. How long actually between the time you assembled these men. And the first performance art of Toscanini let me just turn your sheet of around to say that after the time the players arrived in the country there's going to be more precise Yes and it probably also speaks the difficulties which were involved in this I imagine that it was not easy for many of these to come. First of all the people who were the founding father of the idea and the man who collected the money because I did the job and he
collected the money which is just important. I must say at the beginning still more important to really lay the foundation to this and all these players into the holy land and to be able to pay them and be able to sustain and support them. This would if it would have gone according to plan would have been quite as one can say under these up enormous Here comes the normal procedure but it was not because I arrived sick in the country it was a tethered poisoning which forced me to stay in hospital. When I came out of the hospital I had to quick work in theatre history actually. Only four weeks. And remember that I compiled once how many of us that take place in four weeks all together at 55 years let's not tell these any American Union things like Please wear plus plus even at bedtime. But this was just an emergency situation we
switch everybody called The very way that we simply sat for up to eight nine hours a day was fed by somebody who stuck by Anonymous and threw ten things into my mouth and he I went three hours strange three hours wind instrument three hours tops impression etc. etc. etc.. 55 to us a little bit to say it sounds that it is silly but it is not silly. After four weeks work the orchestra was on ready to be faced by my first county and never forget the first second and second symphony by bombs the unfinished symphony. Pieces by Mendel's zone and I want to I cannot recall it exactly. Knowing my structure is going to need must be nobody about was CD. And I still remember the day that everything society which processed everyone when the old man appeared for the first day of school
and everybody thought that the legendary thunder storm would break loose but nothing broke loose I do remember only that the old man after he was through with the BB symphony he turned around and he said there is nothing to written as if you can't go home and nobody wanted to believe that the old man was mild but I must say that from the next day on he made up for these madness of the Fessor. So he really broke out in the thunderstorms to justify it. To respect I'm just shocked because he left it's on the systems and he loved the Destiny saga so much that he always had a feeling he hate to live up late which he did probably from the second day. But anyhow so he started it. Was that a successful at that time. This was no doubt the best orchestra. After about yeah unfortunately 18 first best man lived for
many reasons some of them couldn't stand the climate sometimes and couldn't get one to go along with the conditions and some of them had chances to get your patients mainly you know America and this was also the time when I went to America then finally the under-30 it took quite a lot of these players you know and also succeeded to get jobs for them in this country because it would be good people with us if you followed Toscanini of America as an associate and they by the end he supported me. Yeah yeah I was actually with him for a few years and which was a memorable time in Macy's because it really got very great inside in this close of my interface the way it was working. And anyhow I've seen this question of Toscanini's rather the subject one of the broadcast because. There's so much to say I'm sure this is true.
I'm sure also that one broadcast is not going to suffice for Maestro Steinberg. I want among other things to talk just for a moment about that Buffalo situation because here again was an instance where you were called upon to take the raw material and make of it something I think would be interested to know just how this came about. My night in May 19 of that 45 a strange man telephoned me by the name of come out on bat a eye out of the estate. Mr. Steinberg You don't know me. I would like to talk to you at least at that time in Rochelle which is a suburb of New York. And can I come say you can come. And there came a man who was right from the very outset impressed me very much by many
traits which showed very quickly the great intelligence great music lover and then a flood of enterprise and he say I come here and to ask you whether you want to contact our orchestra in Buffalo and I made one of my stunning remarks to aggravate my situation which was difficult enough at that time and I think most an unsurpassed masters to say the wrong things. There is nobody in the world who can say at the right moment the wrong things the way I do. And anyhow so at state Mr. Vedder I did not know you have an orchestra which sort of certainly the west thing. If you would not be such an Englishman sensible man sensible and sensitive at the same time he certainly would have gotten his head and turned away from me but he did not. And then he sayd to commend to me he has about four people so who are these four people he didn't want to speak but I made him
speak. And he states critics to contact us. It's fine weather too creating drainage with questions like this. You'll have to answer he said. It's from The New York Times and heard you Thompson from The Tribune. Time to contact us he said. Doctors aboard of Alta and Toscanini and I said right away this cannot be because I know it says that he doesn't receive anybody. No no no no I got word from his son. But you say if you're if I'm just going to want to focus on any of these lines I committed my further stupidities which obviously did not intimidate me so bad and so you don't know any up and say you know My asked Please don't mind my mind but in answer to putting out a request like this but this
is to be and then he said he's going to be because it's in this kind of thing go on talking but let's forget about the buffalo idea so we went on talking shook hands and it was the end of it. About four weeks later six weeks later at midnight the delivery he's coming back. Do you want to come back to our guest as if yes if you have it I say it. Which meant that he paid out. Bogey Man in order to give me just a chance to contact to hear the orchestra so I'm beautiful made moeny. And was just brought to Clive Hunt's Music Award. He's very beautiful. Martin Place built by Saturn and the finish and I trust my my face and later on it. Then it states for the very outside the city which is such a concert must have a
spirit. After all there wouldn't be a concert of this kind and then I was confronted with an enormous WPA orchestra and I had to do with them a kind of an imaginary has if I may say so for an imaginary concert and I was going along within it with this my my thought as that which was good whatsoever and this doesn't mean anything against my venerated preacher said workfare whose name not to be mentioned at the moment. Through that he cannot take any objection to it and then Mr. Bad came what do you think of it. So that it would be a beginning. But what you need. I see the need for databases needs to grow horns need to know which said you should have them he said. Id trust is of his and he got everything but it. And now let's have some luncheon in the evening the same bill in the house of my mother for a little music. So what you call him you always see.
So in the evening at the fabulous beautiful mansion and what a fight there in August for the people assembled or paid out of pocket and every played hide and Mozart symphony the whole evening as in other words the attitude of a man who played almost a roar like a 19th century Messina's Messina's How do you pronounce it. And these set the pace for the oil that the president made for seven years and beat up people to death. If I may say so but so much to do with it that still very much alive. Must've been a very lovely day in the ME. And so it went. So if you meet up to meet with us this has been very interesting and we thank you very much. Thank you very much for being so patient to listen to on my nonsense. I think it has a lot more than just and this has been a conversation with William Steinberg music director of both the Pittsburgh and Boston Symphony Orchestras participating where Aaron Parsons professor of music theory at Northwestern University School
of Music and program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and George Stone program director of Zenith radio corporation's radio station WEF am this is the national educational radio network.
A conversation with...
William Steinberg
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “A conversation with...; William Steinberg,” 1968-12-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “A conversation with...; William Steinberg.” 1968-12-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: A conversation with...; William Steinberg. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from