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Polish-American pianist, teacher, and composer.

Career Summary

Steuermann studied with Busoni in Berlin and with Arnold Schoenberg. In 1912 he played in the first performance of Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire, and after that in every one of his first performances involving piano. He also premiered Alban Berg's Piano Sonata and Chamber Concerto, and most of Anton Webern's chamber music with piano, and much other contemporary music, while also playing the standard repertory, notably Beethoven. From 1919 to 1936 he lived in Vienna. He taught at the Paderewski School in L'viv, and later at the Jewish Conservatory of Kraków (1932‒36).

He emigrated to the USA in 1938 and settled in New York, teaching at the Philadelphia Conservatory, and at the Juilliard School 1952‒64, while also performing internationally. His pupils in America included Alfred Brendel, Moura Lympany, Menahem Pressler, composer Gunther Schuller, and theorists Edward T. Cone and David Lewin.

Steuermann and Schenker

The two men were evidently acquainted, though Steuermann is only twice mentioned in Schenker's diary, his playing in Mozart, Schumann, and Beethoven four-hands pieces described as "Without any zest; not even the performance indications specified by the composer were observed!" (February 23, 1930). He is once mentioned by Moriz Violin in a letter to Schoenberg (LC ASC 27/45, [27], April 14, 1941).

Source:

  • New Grove Dictionary of Music (1980)
  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1970)
  • Ian Bent

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Diaries