Emil Steinbach (1849-1919)

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Emil Steinbach (1849-1919).

Emil Steinbach was a German conductor and composer. He was particularly known for his interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner (1813-1883). He notably conducted the first public performance of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll in 1877.

He was the elder brother and first music teacher of the composer and conductor Fritz Steinbach (1855-1916) and the great uncle of Peter Maag. He studied under Hermann Levi (1839-1900) at the Leipzig Conservatory from 1867-1869. From 1871-1874 he was Kapellmeister in Mannheim; from 1874-1877 he was Hofkapellmeister of the orchestra at the Opera in Darmstadt. He finally served as the first Chief Music Director of the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz (founded in 1876) from 1877 to 1909. In 1893 he conducted Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Siegfried at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London, to unenthusiastic reviews. He died in Mainz in 1919.

His compositional output consists of orchestral works, chamber music, and songs.

Gustav Mahler

Emil who was probably introduced to Mahler through his younger brother Fritz Steinbach (1855-1916), invited Mahler early in 1904 to conduct his Symphony No. 4 in Mainz. Mahler accepted, and the performance took place soon after 23-03-1904. The dates of their concerts make it clear that the steinbach brothers collaborated on this occasion (and probably on others too); four days after Mahler had conducted his Symphony No. 4 in Mainz for Emil Steinbach (1849-1919), he performed his symphony No. 3 for Fritz Steinbach (1855-1916) in Cologne. In an undated letter (24-03-1904 to Alma), Mahler, already in Cologne, gave his account to the Mainz concert (… turned out really well …).

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