I was George Szell’s concertmaster

I was George Szell’s concertmaster


norman lebrecht

July 17, 2019

Listen to Anthea Kreston’s new podcast with Arnold Steinhardt of the Guarneri String quartet. Between trying his hand as a soloist and forming the quartet in Marlboro, he earned his keep at the Cleveland Orchestra.

‘My heroes are all Europeans,’ he confides.

Click here.



  • Esther Cavett says:

    ==‘My heroes are all Europeans,’ he confides.

    And not, for example, Isaac Stern !

    • David says:

      Most Americans are European including Isaac Stern.

    • PeterSD says:

      Well, he does mention Stern in passing, among the “great” musicians his wife has photographed…

    • Freddynyc says:

      Wouldn’t doubt if he were one of Stern’s targets back in the day – being young, American and up and coming. These are qualities that threatened his massive ego and fueled his paranoia…..

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    A magnificent violinist and who writes about the experience of playing music; of a life in music, more eloquently and poetically than Mr. Steinhardt? My hero is American: Arnold Steinhard.

    • Anthea kreston says:

      That was one of the most amazing experiences, to be able to talk to him. He is, indeed, a hero to many, for his musicianship as well as as a teacher and human. A beautiful man.

  • Amos says:

    For 4-5 years (1958-1962?) he was the Assistant Concertmaster. During his tenure in Cleveland, Mr. Gingold and Mr. Druian were the Concertmasters.

    • Anthea kreston says:

      Yes this is absolutely true, Amos, and we state this exactly as you mention in the podcast. Somehow the SD crew got cross-messaged on the title. Thanks for the clarification.

      • Amos says:

        Mr. Steinhardt has never claimed to have been the concertmaster and in print has been complimentary of Mr. Gingold. Regardless he was a prominent member of what many of us view as an orchestra without peer. His post-CO work as a musician and author are, in the best sense of the phrase, also of the highest order.

  • Basset Horn says:

    He was assistant/associate concertmaster, never the concertmaster in Cleveland

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Is there any European counterpart to Marlboro?

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    A magnificent violinist and nobody writes about the experience of making music and about a life in music as well as Arnold Steinhardt. My heroe is American and is Arnold Steinhardt.

  • David says:

    Arnold Steinhardt is a wonderful musician with a marvellous tone but I think violinists like Midori Must not be overlooked.

  • NYMike says:

    Arnold was an ass’t. concertmaster in Cleveland, not concertmaster.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Very interesting, thanks for the link and the opportunity to hear this. But I do remember when the Guarneri was the hot new quartet in concert and on recordings, that it was regarded by most as modern and sleek and “American” in sound and style, as was the Juilliard, compared to those old Europeans in the Budapest SQ (who in turn had probably been regarded as modern and sleek in sound and style compared to the Arnold Rosé SQ or the Flonzaley SQ, who in turn … and so it goes).

    • Amos says:

      With all due respect, the sound of the Juilliard and Guarneri were quite different with the former much more “American”. Also as I recall upon his passing Mr. Steinhardt acquired Josef Roisman’s violin. Clearly, the sound is the violinist’s but the influence seems undeniable.

  • TS Schurk says:

    Steinhardt was never Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra. He was Assistant Concertmaster, sitting next to Concertmaster Josef Gingold. Steinhardt held that position for about 5 seasons.

  • Phillip Rose says:


    He never was, and never claimed to be. (Perhaps there is a subeditor writing these misleading/incorrect headlines?)

  • Westfan says:

    This was a lovely interview. The Guarneri were the first quartet I ever heard in person, as a high school kid at Interlochen. Bought their Ravel/Debussy album afterwards. Left a huge impression on me, a non string player. Thanks for posting this link.

  • Ricardo says:

    Beautiful man

  • Jeremy Wardle says:

    Well done to Anthea K for producing such a wonderful talk !

  • Lady Weidenfeld says:

    What a joy to hear Arnold’s voice in such an excellent interview! It brought back a host of memories from the early days of the Guarneri Quartet to the present! It has been a joy and a privilege to count him as a dear friend through those decades and the unique sound of the Quartet remains for ever in my ears bringing back the excitement of their visits to London and later to Spain and Portugal when I brought them there. Michael and David are sadly no longer with us, but it was a joy for Menahem Pressler and me to meet Arnold for tea just two months ago and reminisce! Arnold please get writing your Key of Strawberry again — we miss it! You are a great violinist, a wonderful writer and a very special human being!