Dr. David Ward-Steinman, 78
November 6, 1936 – April 14, 2015
Bloomington—Composer, Professor, and Pianist David Ward-Steinman, 78, died Tuesday April 14 in Bloomington Hospital after a long battle with cancer.
He was born November 6, 1936, in Alexandria, Louisiana, to Irving and Daisy Ward-Steinman. He held degrees from Florida State University (BM cum laude) and the University of Illinois (MM and DMA), and was a post-doctoral Fellow at Princeton and a composer at Boulez’s IRCAM Summer Academy in Paris. His teachers included his mother, Daisy Ward-Steinman (piano and theory), John Venettozzi (piano), Edward Kilenyi (piano, FSU), and composition with Darius Milhaud (Aspen), Milton Babbitt and Aaron Copland (Tanglewood), Nadia Boulanger (Paris), and Burrill Philips (Illinois).
He was a Distinguished Professor at San Diego State University for 42 years, where he started the Comprehensive Musicianship Program, directed the New Music Ensemble, and taught courses in interrelationships among the fine arts. Since 2003 he was an Adjunct Professor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in the Composition and General Studies Departments. He was a dynamic pianist, specializing in new music and improvisation in all styles.
He received many national and state awards for his compositions and teaching, including the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, the Dohnanyi Citation and Outstanding Alumnus of the Year awards from Florida State University, the Outstanding Professor Award from the Trustees of the California State Universities and Colleges, and was a White House reception honoree in 1966 along with Dizzy Gillespie and Edie Adams. In 1970-72 he was the Ford Foundation composer-in-residence for the Tampa Bay area of Florida, in 1986 composer-in-residence at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, and Senior Fulbright Scholar to Australia in 1989-90. During the summer of 1982 he gave concerts and lectures in Indonesia under the sponsorship of the U.S. State Dept.’s International Communications Agency, and served as Artist-in-Residence and faculty consultant for the University of North Sumatra in Medan. In 2009 Ward-Steinman was listed among “100 Distinguished Graduates” of Florida State University by the FSU Alumni Association on the occasion of the centennial celebration of the university.
Major commissions include those from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet (New York), San Diego Ballet, California Ballet, MTNA, NACWPI, American Harp Society (San Diego), Camarada Chamber Music Ensemble, San Diego Symphony, and the Singapore Philharmonic Winds. Other orchestral works have been performed by the Japan Philharmonic, New Orleans Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, City of London Sinfonia, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Brevard Festival Orchestra, Idyllwild Festival Orchestra, San Diego Symphony (numerous works), San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, IU New Music Ensemble, and many others. Gregory Peck and Vincent Price have appeared as Narrator in four different performances of Ward-Steinman’s oratorio The Song of Moses.
He is the author of Toward a Comparative Structural Theory of the Arts [SDSU Press, 1989], co-author of Comparative Anthology of Musical Forms (2vv.), author of a chapter on David Baker’s compositions in David Baker—A Legacy in Music, ed. Monika Herzig [IU Press, 2011], and author of numerous articles in various journals.
David was an avid airplane pilot, blackjack card-counter, and punster. He loved teaching, performing, traveling to exotic places, and learning their languages and fine arts. His effervescent positive spirit and encyclopedic mind were admired by all and will be greatly missed.
David Ward-Steinman is survived by his most ardent admirer and wife, Dr. Patrice Madura; children Matthew (wife, Maureen) and grandchildren Isabella, Gabriel, and Evelyn; daughter Jenna; sister Dr. Judy (Ken) Campbell; siblings-in-law Michael (Charlene) Madura and Marcia (Dr. Daniel) Kozlowski; and numerous nieces and nephews.