Max Steindel, Cellist

The following are excerpts from the book SYMPHONY AND SONG; The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra: The First Hundred Years 1880-1980, published in 1980. Katherine Gladnew Wells, author. Also, a paragraph from Mrs. Winifred Mayes, about her husband Samuel Mayes, who was a student of Steindel.

"Max Steindel, a twenty-one-year old cellist, came in as Principal in 1912. A member of a family highly regarded in professional music circles, Steindel had an uncle and a brother in the Theodore Thomas Orchestra. Except for a short hiatus during World War I, Steindel was to remain with the Saint Louis Orchestra for over forty years."

While Van Remoortel was the St. Louis Symphony conductor 1958-1962:

"....Van Remoortel inadvertently shared the limelight, in a way, with Max Steindel, veteran principal cellist and personnel manager of the Orchestra. Steindel had then been with the Orchestra for forty-two years, and was an exceedingly colorful and well-loved member of the organization. He was interviewed and featured in an article by Clarissa Start in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in July (1958?), an article that discussed his wit, his talents as a raconteur and as a perennial trouble shooter, as well as his being a capital cello player. (He was also very fond of food, particularly soup.) In the fall, Steindel was given the "Page One Civic Award" and referred to as the dean of St. Louis musicians. All of this was subsidiary to what Van Remoortel was involved in, but is was a happy bit of news which served the interests of the Orchestra as well."

Mrs. Mayes wrote:

"He was very important in Sammy Mayes' early development so that he came to Curtis at 12 years with an already enviable technique. Max was a frequent visitor in the Mayes' household because he gave many recitals with Sammy's mother, an excellent pianist. And it was because four-year old Sammy seemed so entranced with Max, that it was decided he must love to play the cello. Actually he later claimed he was fascinated with Max, not the cello."

While still in his teen years, Mayes began playing as a section cellist in the Philadelphia Orchestra. He graduated from the Curtis Institute in 1937, and in 1938 was asked to become principal cellist of the PSO, under the baton of Leopold Stowkowski, where he stayed for ten years. Go here for more information about Samuel Mayes.

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