Thursday (7/30) on, veteran orchestra executive Peter Pastreich writes about the late Michael Steinberg, whom he had known and worked with for many years. Steinberg died July 26 at age 80. “Sunday morning in Minneapolis, America’s most civilized and articulate voice on the subject of music was silenced. Program annotator for the orchestras of Boston, San Francisco, and New York, author of the best volumes of musical analysis since Tovey’s, lecturer, teacher and mentor to musicologists and musicians, Michael Steinberg was a quiet but persuasive force in American music for almost 60 years.” Pastreich recalls first meeting Steinberg in New York in 1960: “He spoke so fascinatingly and lovingly about music, especially to a 22-year-old who knew so little about it, that I asked him to write program notes for the Greenwich Village Symphony, the community orchestra I was then managing.” The two later worked together when Pastreich was executive director of the San Francisco Symphony, where “Michael was much more than a writer and lecturer on music for us. Michael was for ten years the artistic conscience of the San Francisco Symphony—and he continued in that role after he left for Minneapolis—not only through his continuing lectures and notes, and the advice he gave to me and to three music directors—Edo De Waart, Herbert Blomstedt, and Michael Tilson Thomas—but by what I would call his looming spirit.”

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Posted July 31, 2009