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date: 02 December 2020

Steiner, Emma Robertolocked

  • Carol Neuls-Bates


(b ?Baltimore, 1850; d New York, Feb 27, 1928). American composer and conductor. Her paternal ancestors were military officers; her mother was an excellent amateur pianist. Mainly self-taught, Steiner composed from the age of seven, despite a lack of encouragement from her parents. In the early 1870s she went to Chicago to make music her career, initially as a singer in the chorus of an opera company, then – after attracting the interest of Edward Everett Rice – as a conductor in a company under Rice’s direction. Over the next 30 years Steiner is said to have conducted 6000 performances of more than 50 operas and operettas, including 700 performances of The Mikado. She and Caroline B. Nichols were the earliest women conductors in the USA to have had a full career. Heinrich Conried, whose company she conducted before he became manager of the Metropolitan Opera in 1903, is said to have wanted to hire her for the Met, but dared not because she was a woman....

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