Born: July 4, 1883
Died: December 6, 1946
Period: 20th Century
Maximilian Steinberg, though considered a Russian composer was born of Lithuanian Jewish parents in Vilnius. By 1901 he was pursuing a biology degree at biology at Saint Petersburg University, graduating in 1906. However, his string interest and talent in music led simultaneously toward studies at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory where he was a pupil of Anatoly Lyadov in harmony as well as Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov inRead more composition, orchestration and counterpoint. He graduated from the Conservatory with colleague Igor Stravinsky in 1908. It has been written that Steinberg and Stravinsky were close firends though privately Strinsky resented Steinberg's relations with favoritism as a composer with Rimsky-Korsakov. Stravinsky may have been anoyed with Staeinberg's insistence of close friendship with Stravisnky after the latter had achieved fame in the West despuite Steinberg remaining much more within the symphonic traditions of 19th centiury Russia, but this is conjecture and extrapolation.
Also in 1908 Steinberg married Rimsky-Korsakov's daughter Nadezhda. Rimsky-Korsakov died that year, and Steinberg was appointed to edit Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestration treatise, Principles of Orchestration, published in Paris.
By 1915 Steinberg was a Music Professor at the Conservatory, a post his father-in-law had held. Steinberg played an important role in Soviet music life as a teacher of noted composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Galina Ustvolskaya and Yuri Shaporin. He died in 1946 in Leningrad.
Steinberg's music is basically Romantic with colorful, sparkling orchestral effects and appealing harmonic progressions and melodic lines, showing the influence of the nationalistic Mighty Handful. Much of his music is little known in the West, though he wrote symphonies, tone poems, ballets and chamber music. He retired from the conservatory just after the war and passed away in Leningrad.