Ben Steinberg, born in Winnipeg, Canada, was educated at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto. He is well known across Canada and the U.S. for his lecture-recitals on Jewish music history and style, and has conducted and lectured overseas in such places as Israel, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan. A professional composer of both sacred and secular music, he is perhaps the most widely commissioned composer of Jewish music worldwide. His works have been published in the U.S, Canada and Israel; these include Sabbath services, choral and orchestral settings, instrumental and vocal chamber music and solo works. In addition to his published music, Steinberg is author of two books on adult and youth choirs and is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. His honors include the 1983 Kavod Award from the Cantors’ Assembly (Conservative), the 1990 Guild of Temple Musicians’ inaugural Shomer Shira Award, honorary membership in the American Conference of Cantors in 1992, a Composer’s Award from the American Harp Society in 1983, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998. On Dec. 6, 2011, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations presented him with its highest honor, the ‘Eisendrath Bearer of Light’ award. He has been twice honored by the City of Jerusalem, which invited him to be an artist-in-residence at its creative retreat. There he researched and wrote his cantata “Echoes of Children” which won the 1979 International Gabriel Award. He is the founding chairman of two unique annual competitions which encourage young musicians to compose and perform; his congregation’s “Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award” to a young performing artist, and the Guild of Temple Musicians’ “Young Composer’s Award”. He is Director Emeritus of Music and Composer-in-Residence at Temple Sinai in Toronto. In recognition of his contribution to Canadian music and Jewish music worldwide, the University of Calgary (Alberta) has established a “Ben Steinberg Archive” to house his original manuscripts, scores and papers.
The Milken Archive currently features Ben Steinberg's "Prelude for Organ" as part of A Reform Sabbath Eve Service in Volume 3.
By: Neil W. Levin