Arnold Steinhardt

Arnold Steinhardt

About Arnold Steinhardt

Arnold Steinhardt was born in Los Angeles, receiving his early training from Karl Moldrem, Peter Meremblum and Toscha Seidel, and making his solo debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at age fourteen. He continued his studies with Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute of Music and with Joseph Szigeti in Switzerland in 1962 under the sponsorship of George Szell.

Winner of the Philadelphia Youth Competition in 1957, the 1958 Leventritt Award, and Bronze Medallist in the Queen Elizabeth International Violin Competition in 1963, Mr. Steinhardt has appeared throughout North America and Europe as a recitalist and soloist with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra, among others.

Mr. Steinhardt is first violinist and a founding member (1964) of the internationally acclaimed Guarneri String Quartet with which he has made innumerable tours across the globe and recorded dozens of albums for RCA Victor, Philips, Arabesque and Surrounded By Entertainment. The quartet retired in 2009. He is professor of violin and chamber music at Colburn Music School, the University of Maryland, Bard College, and the Curtis Institute of Music.

Arnold Steinhardt has written two books: Indivisible by Four: A String Quartet in Pursuit of Harmony (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998); and Violin Dreams (Houghton Mifflin, 2006).  He is the author of articles which have appeared in Chamber Music America, Musical America and Keynote. Recipient of Honorary Doctorates from the University of South Florida and Harpur College, Arnold Steinhardt has also received an award for distinguished cultural service from the City of New York presented by Mayor Koch. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.

Mr. Steinhardt’s recordings include Franz Schubert’s complete works for violin and piano with Seymour Lipkin on Newport Classic, American Journey on Naxos Records with his brother Victor Steinhard featuring a variety of seldom heard American music and three new works written for him, two CD’s on Sheffield Lab with pianist Lincoln Mayorga: Strauss and Dvorak and Romantic Music for Violin and Piano which he recorded “direct-to-disc”; and a TownHall recording of unaccompanied Bach works.

Arnold Steinhardt plays a Lorenzo Storioni violin from Cremona, Italy, late 18th century.

Objects — by Arnold Steinhardt

Last summer I was once again a participant in the Marlboro Music Festival.  As always, the school generously provided my wife, Dorothea, and me with a house off campus. This time we were given the former home of David Soyer, the cellist of our Guarneri String Quartet for thirty-seven of its forty-five-year existence. Dave passed away in 2010, his wife, Janet, in 2011. I knew Dave and Janet’s house rather well, a charming, rustic old place set in the woods, and I looked forward to staying in it.  When people asked me whether I wouldn’t feel funny living in their house now that they were gone, I laughed and said no at first without really thinking much about it.  But then I began to wonder whether Dave and Janet would [...]

Dave — by Arnold Steinhardt

David Soyer, cellist and founding member of the Guarneri String Quartet, passed away on February 26, 2010—one day after his 86th birthday. Michael Tree, violist, and John Dalley and I, violinists, the other founding members, played in the quartet with Dave for almost forty years and we knew him for close to fifty. Peter Wiley, a former cello student of Dave’s and his successor in the Guarneri Quartet, has known him for easily forty years. Given the close musical and personal relationship that we had with Dave stretching over decades, it is hard to believe that he is no longer with us. Dave and I first met at the Marlboro Music School—quite literally at a rehearsal for Brahms B Major Piano Trio. In the course of that two-hour rehearsal, I [...]

The Swan — by Arnold Steinhardt

When I was eleven years old, my violin teacher assigned me The Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns. I had no idea that The Swan was a famous cello solo or that it was part of a much larger work, “The Carnival of the Animals.” I had never even heard of its composer, Saint-Saëns, or seen his name in print before. I wondered why there was a funny line between his two-word last name and what could be the purpose of those strange dots perched on top. And was Saint-Saëns actually a saint? I thought that The Swan was very pretty and probably associated the music’s title with its general mood in some vague way. As a child, I often saw swans gliding regally through the water on the lake near where [...]