Canadian composer Ben Steinberg (1930-2023) passed away on Feb. 10, 2023.
Steinberg was born in Winnipeg to Jewish parents. His father Alexander Steinberg was a cantor and conductor. He went on to study music at the Royal Conservatory of Music and music education at the University of Toronto. Throughout his career, Steinberg focused on Jewish and Canadian music.
He served as the Director of Music at Temple Sinai beginning in 1970 and was appointed Composer-in-Residence in 1996. Upon his retirement, the Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award and the Guild of Temple Musicians’ “Young Composer’s Award” were started. Steinberg was the music director at Forest Hill Collegiate and head of the music department at Winston Churchill Collegiate Institute. He gave many lecture-recitals on Jewish music history and style throughout Canada and the U.S. He also conducted and lectured in Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan.
He composed both sacred and secular music including Shabbat services, choral and orchestral settings, instrumental and vocal chamber music as well as solo works. In addition to his musical works, Steinberg published two books on adult and youth choirs and contributed to the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.
In 2001, Steinberg was awarded the “Eisendrath Bearer of Light” award – the highest honor from the Reform movement (then called the Union of American Hebrew Congregations).
A service in his memory was held on Feb. 12 at the Temple Sinai Congregation.