Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
sidebar menu icon

STEINFELDT, JOHN MATHIAS

STEINFELDT, JOHN MATHIAS (1864–1946). John Mathias Steinfeldt, musician, composer, and teacher, was born in the village of Ankum, near Hanover, Germany, on August 18, 1864. He was the son of Sophia (Zimmerman) and Henry Steinfeldt. When he was ten his family immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended public schools. He received an art scholarship to the Cincinnati School of Design, studied piano and harmony in the College of Music in Cincinnati, and attended Dayton College in Dayton, Ohio. He also studied music in New York with Rafael Joseffy and in Paris with Isidore Philipp.

Cathedral of San Fernando
Photograph, Cathedral of San Fernando in San Antonio. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Steinfeldt moved to San Antonio about 1887, became assistant organist at San Fernando Cathedral, and was organist at the Jewish Temple Beth-El and the First Baptist Church. A few years after his arrival, he became organist at St. Mary's Catholic Church, a position he held for more than fifty years. In 1920 he founded the San Antonio College of Music, where he taught piano and pipe organ; he also held classes in Eagle Pass and Laredo. He appeared several times as a soloist with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony. Among his compositions were a number of concert pieces, The Song of the River (a chorus for women's voices), and Missa Maria Immaculata or Mass in G, the dedication Mass for the new St. Mary's Church.

Grave of John Mathias Steinfeldt
Photograph, Grave of John Mathias Steinfeldt in San Antonio. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Steinfeldt was awarded a prize by the Texas Federation of Music Clubs for his San Antonio-inspired composition La Concepción. In 1943 he received an Apostolic Benediction, a blessing from Pope Pius XII for his fifty years of service as the organist of St. Mary's Catholic Church . He was married to Vivia May Ripley on July 10, 1893, in San Antonio. They were the parents of four children. Steinfeldt was a Catholic and member of the Knights of Columbus. Steinfeldt died on February 28, 1946; a requiem Mass was offered for him at St. Mary's Catholic Church, San Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (4 vols., 1929?). John M. Steinfeldt Family Papers, 1819-–1993, MS 35, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections, San Antonio. San Antonio Evening News, March 1, 1946. San Antonio Express, March 1, 1946. St. Mary's Church Bulletin, San Antonio, September 1924. Who's Who Among the Women of San Antonio and Southwest Texas (San Antonio: Fenwick, 1917).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "Steinfeldt, John Mathias," accessed July 30, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fst31.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 10, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.