Emeritus Prof. Richard Steinitz



Richard Steinitz retired from the University of Huddersfield in 2004, when he was awarded an Honorary DLitt and made Emeritus Professor. In addition to a long teaching career in the Department of Music, where he instituted the Electronic Music Studio and was Director of Research, in 1978 he founded Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and was its Artistic Director throughout twenty-three years of spectacular growth and international success.

Son of the Bach specialist and conductor Paul Steinitz, Richard was born in 1938 and, after the War, became a chorister at St Michael’s College, Tenbury, alongside Jonathan Harvey. In 1957 he gained a music scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge, and subsequently studied composition on an Italian government scholarship with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome. Before directing the Contemporary Music Festival he was active as a composer, winning second prize in the 1968 BBC Young Composers’ Competition and the Clements Memorial Prize for Chamber Music in 1981. Later he developed a career as a musicologist specialising in twentieth century music. His György Ligeti: Music of the Imagination (London & Boston 2003) is the leading book in English on Ligeti and won an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 2004. Besides numerous articles, he has contributed to Contemporary Composers (St James’s Press 1992), The Messiaen Companion (Faber 1995), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd edition, Macmillan 2001) and Censorship: a World Encyclopedia (Fitzroy Dearborn 2001).

Richard Steinitz has been a frequent broadcaster and guest lecturer: eg. at the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College Dublin, York University, Birmingham Conservatory, the Royal Conservatory in Madrid, English National Opera and major concert halls in London and Spain. He was an adviser to the Arts Council and has contributed to conferences on contemporary music promotion for the British Council, European Conference of New Music Promoters, University of Central Europe and other institutions throughout Europe and Scandinavia. He was recipient of a Performing Right Society-Arts Council Award for his contribution to new music in 1994 and an Alchemist Award in 2001, was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 1999, and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1995.

Current projects include a substantial chapter based on recent research into Ligeti’s sketches for a new anthology, Remembering Ligeti, due to be published by Boydell & Brewer in 2011. Richard’s composition Hymn to Apollo at Delphi – performed several times and broadcast in the 1970s– has just been published by Peacock Press and will be issued in a new performance on a Guild CD this year. He is also working on a comprehensive history of the Contemporary Music Festival, now near completion, to be published by the University of Huddersfield Press.