ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

“To imagine even for one micro-second that Bach might have been some kind of misogynist is fanciful in the extreme. However, with only a few exceptions, Bach has largely been perceived as a composer to whom only men can properly relate musically and when I first occupied the ‘hot seat’ that goes with working in the world of Bach, women artistic directors, leading scholars, conductors and organists in my musical world, as well as outside it, were none too thick on the ground to say the least.

In the twenty-eight years since I founded the London Bach Society’s Bachfest, this situation has changed radically, introducing some creative and able female minds to enrich Bach study and performance and bring a fresh perspective on the life and work of this great and female-loving composer (study his domestic life if you don’t believe me!).  I am very honoured to be the LBS Artistic Director, building on Paul’s magnificent example, inspired by his achievements and the musicians with whom I work”. MS

Margaret Steinitz is the LBS Artistic Director, who founded the annual Bachfest and curates the programmes.

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 amalgamation 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, British Council tours to Bulgaria and the GDR (now part of unified Germany).

Following the Bach cantata cycle completion in 1987, 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 after he died. An annual Bach Festival was chosen as the vehicle to achieve this to continue to promote the Bach story and the Society’s charitable purpose.

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. The LBS Journal Bach Notes  was founded in 1996 and, with blogger and web designer Tim Ireland, she compiled the  LBS’s 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, complete with four-page spread in the Leipzig Bachfest magazine. Forward planning stretches to 2021, the LBS 75th anniversary  (Visit the ‘About Us’ page for a snapshot of LBS achievements since foundation in 1946).

Following the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, 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 German Democratic Republic made by the London Bach Society in 1964 and 1983. Therefore in 1994, she invited Leipzig’s Thomanerchor (Bach’s choir), to make its 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 (2017-2021 “Upwards and Outwards“) 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 promotion of other projects.

Memberships and Awards

Margaret Steinitz has served on various Committees including as a Trustee of the (UK) Dresden Trust (2005-2007).  She is a member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, the British-German Association and most recently elected to Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain (2018). She became a Freeman  in The Worshipful Company of Musicians in 2012.  Subsequently Mrs Steinitz was accepted as a Liveryman of the Company, was robed and installed prior to a Livery Dinner in April 2014 and currently serves on the Livery Club Committee (2016-). In October 2016 she was installed as a Company Steward and in that capacity served for the statutory two years ending October 2018.

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 for 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 in a career spanning 50 years included conducting major concerts in Leipzig’s Thomaskirche.

Spare time hobbies include gardening, tending her allotment, reading, studying current affairs & British history, theatre.  She is a supporter of Tottenham Hotpsur and follows English Cricket. Follow Margaret Steinitz on her Facebook page.

 

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