She studied music at Goldsmiths’ College, joined the LBS as a chorister in 1972, was then invited to join the Committee of Management as Choir Registrar and subsquently elected Secretary of the Society. She married the London Bach Society’s founder-conductor Dr. Paul Steinitz in 1976.
For the next twelve years Margaret took care of her husband’s busy schedule, managing the affairs of the Society including the amalgation of the London Bach Society with Steinitz Bach Players to form a new charity in 1983, major fund-raising, managing the annual public series of concerts (including the completion of the historic LBS Bach cantata cycle in 1987), broadcasts, tours to Bulgaria and the GDR (now part of unified Germany).
Following the Bach cantata cycle completion, it was the express wish of Paul Steinitz that the London Bach Society, including its own professional orchestra Steinitz Bach Players, be continued and developed. An annual Bach Festival was chosen as the vehicle to achieve this and continue to promote the Bach story.
Resolving to rise to the challenge of her husband’s wishes after his death in April 1988, Margaret founded the Society’s annual Bachfest in 1990 and is responsible for the Festival programming and forward planning. The LBS Journal Bach Notes was founded in 1996 and, with blogger and web designer Tim Ireland, she compiled the LBS’s much-praised website ‘bachlive’ launched to celebrate the arrival of a new century in 2000. The Society’s 60th anniversary followed in 2006 and to mark Paul Steinitz’ centenary in 2009 she founded the 18-30 Bach Club as an event especially for new generations as part of the annual Bachfest. The 25th Bachfest was presented in 2015 and the London Bach Society’s 70th anniversary will be celebrated in November 2016 at the annual Festival. (Visit the ‘About Us’ page for a snapshot of LBS achievements since foundation in 1946).
At the invitation of Bach Network UK, Mrs Steinitz delivered a paper entitled “Ways to Bach” to a Bach Dialogue Meeting of international Bach scholars held in the Faculty of Music, Oxford University in 2009. This was published on their website www.bachnetwork.co.uk and discusses the challenges to be met introducing Bach’s music to new generations. In July 2013 she attended the Bach Network’s 6th Dialogue Meeting held at the University of Warsaw and their 7th in July 2014 in Cambridge. She has also given public talks on Bachian subjects and will give an illustrated talk to Salisbury Recorded Music Society in May 2017 entitled “Introducing Mr Bach!”
Following the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, Mrs Steinitz musical interests have also been to foster closer LBS links with the German Bach heritage, especially at Leipzig, and to build on the success of visits to the GDR made by the London Bach Society in 1964 and 1983. Therefore in 1994, she invited Leipzig’s Thomanerchor (Bach’s choir) to make their UK debut and perform in London’s Guildhall and Westminster Abbey, King’s College Chapel Cambridge, Birmingham Town Hall and Wells Cathedral. Close musical friendships have been forged with the choir since and also with the pre-eminent Bach research centre, the Leipzig Bach-Archiv.
Together with the London Bach Society Council Members, Mrs Steinitz is implementing and promoting the LBS Strategic Plan (2012-2018) that includes further development, the provision (either rented, donated or sponsorship-in-kind) of a central office location for the London Bach Society and the celebration of the Society’s 70th anniversary in 2016.
Memberships and Awards
Margaret Steinitz has served on various Committees including City of Westminster Arts Council and as a Trustee of the (UK) Dresden Trust (2005-2007). She is a member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, the British-German Association and became a Freeman in The Worshipful Company of Musicians in 2012. Subsequently Mrs Steinitz has been elected as a Liveryman of the Musicians Company, was robed and installed prior to a Livery Dinner in April 2014 and currently serves on the Livery Club Committee (2016-). In October she will be installed as a Company Steward and serve in that capacity for two years
Margaret has received two significant decorations in recognition of her work.
In 2001 she was made an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (Hon. ARAM) and at a special ceremony held at the German Embassy in London in 2006, Margaret received the Officer’s Cross of the German Order of Merit, a prestigious award made to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of German culture. Mrs Steinitz received hers in recognition of her work promoting Bach and his music in this country since German unification in 1990. She dedicated the award to her late husband, Paul Steinitz, whose pioneering work to promote the music of Bach, his pre-cursors and others included conducting major concerts in Leipzig’s Thomaskirche.
Follow Margaret Steinitz on her Facebook page