Violinist Arnold Steinhardt’s career essentially began with a $2 deposit to his grade school music teacher.
“There was a fantastic public school system in Los Angeles when I was growing up,” Steinhardt recalled.
Thanks to the rich arts and music program at his elementary school in
Echo Park, the acclaimed violinist had the opportunity to choose an
instrument to learn to play. At the end of the year, after advisory
comments from his music teacher to continue taking violin lessons, the
$2 deposit was returned to Steinhardt’s parents.
And with that, his career as a violinist continued to blossom. In
high school, he was fatefully met with yet another excellent music
program. As he kept persistent with the violin, his natural talents and
acquired skills became all the more sharpened. He debuted at the tender
age of 14 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Steinhardt would later go
on to help found and be a vital part of the internationally renowned
Guarneri String Quartet, with whom he traveled for 45 years and
performed about 4,000 concerts.
Today, he teaches, blogs, and writes in addition to playing and
performing. He lives in New York and teaches at the Curtis Institute of
Philadelphia. He also finds time to teach at the Culver Music School in
Downtown Los Angeles.
This Thursday at 7:30 pm, Steinhardt will be special guest performer
at a Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra concert at the Moss Theater in Santa
The performance will be part of the launch of the Westside Connections chamber music series.
Since he hasn’t lived in Los Angeles since he graduated from high school, Steinhardt said he looked forward to the concert.
Out of all the worldwide locations, the city he was born and raised in naturally holds an irreplaceable role in his life.
“It’s good to be performing here in Los Angeles,” Steinhardt said wistfully.
The three-part music series carries the theme of “LA Influential,”
focusing on the impact that Los Angeles has had in the realm of arts and
Steinhardt will be one of the special guests who will present how they have been influenced by the city.
It is clear as to why he never stopped pursuing the mastery of his
instrument – his passion for the violin has not faded in the least.
“I still get butterflies,” Steinhardt acknowledged when asked about
what it’s like to perform today. He considers such pre-performance
nervousness an “asset” as it provides an “extra shot of adrenaline” and a
sense of excitement.
To him, music is a form of spirituality.
“It’s quite mysterious because on the one hand, it’s not food or a
roof over your head, so you’d think music doesn’t have much
significance,” Steinhardt said. “But there’s no culture or people who
don’t drive incredible meaning out of a form of music.”
As a musician, he has discovered that music is an instrumental part of the human experience.
“Some of the most affecting and beautiful moments in life have derived from my response to music,” he said.
Steinhardt considers himself blessed to be able to interact with music for hours for a living.
As for future plans, one thing is certain: Steinhardt’s concerts are
ongoing and international, which invites a fair amount of traveling into
He’s recently returned from teaching in Germany, and had been in
China a few weeks before that. He keeps a busy schedule, to say the
least, but still skillfully manages to teach, blog about his
experiences, and continue to perform.
Tickets for Thursday’s Westside Connections event are $50.
For more information, call 213.622.7001 or visit laco.org/westside.
Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.