Music from (and for) the Heart

Arnold Steinhardt  Lincoln Mayorga

CAPTION:  Lincoln Mayorga (tuxedo) spent most of his life composing, conducting and arranging music in Hollywood – soundtracks, TV scores, pop and rock-n-roll.  Names like Johnny Mathis and Disney Studios show up on his resume.  Arnold Steinhardt (sweater) took the multi-cultural exposure of his childhood in LA to heart.  He co-founded The Guarneri String Quartet, a group that re-defined classical string music during the 45 years they performed together.  ClaverackLanding is presenting these childhood friends in Arnold Steinhardt and Lincoln MayorgaFrom 0 to 75 in 60 Minutes for one night only on Saturday, May 11th at Club Helsinki, beginning at 8pm.  Tickets are $30.00 and can be purchased through  or at the Helsinki Box Office – 518.828.4800.

Music from the Heart

HUDSON – “I think people are longing for more feeling in their lives,” says pianist, composer and arranger Lincoln Mayorga.  “People are being ruled by their analytical minds.  The relationship to digital machines is a little crazy.”  – Not that he hasn’t had his own lapses: session musician and arranger for Frank Zappa comes to mind.

Mostly, though, Mayorga, an East Chatham resident, has been working hard to keep the feeling in his music.  From a close musical relationship with singer Phil Ochs, to heavily emotional soundtracks for such movies as The Rose and Ragtime, to tracks for seventies television classics including Bonanza, Dallas, and Little House on the Prairie, Mayorga has been demonstrating his love of music.

In the 1970s, he set up his own record label, TownHall (sic) Records that specialized in historical reissues and comprehensive collections of jazz and classical music.  And, just to keep things interesting, the pianist was invited to perform with the Moscow Philharmonic at their first concert devoted to American music.  He played Rhapsody in Blue and I Got Rhythm Variations.

Arnold Steinhardt, who grew up less than a mile away from Mayorga in the Los Angeles of the 1950s, took a completely different musical path.  His neighborhood was “intensely Jewish”, filled with European émigrés, and his parents had no use for popular music at all.

Instead, Steinhardt received early violin training from Iranian-born Ivan Galamian and made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 14.  From there he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and, in 1958, won the Leventritt International Violin Competition.  No longer extent, the contest was known to have set among the highest standards and produced more outstanding musicians (pianists and violinists) than any competition since.  Steinhardt’s winning prompted him to search for a new and better violin.  With a prize that included 6 solo performances, he needed a world-class instrument.  Years later, Steinhardt told the story of that quest in his book Violin Dreams (Houghton Mifflin, 2006).

With stops in between as second chair in the Cleveland Orchestra’s first violin section, faculty member of the Curtis Institute and, later, faculty member at the Colburn School in LA, Steinhardt is best known as co-founder and first violinist of The Guarneri String Quartet.  A staple among string performance groups for more than 40 years, the group made numerous recordings during its long history, including some of the most important works in the string quartet and chamber music literature.  They disbanded in 2009.

Between the two of them, stories abound.  Steinhardt and Mayorga grew up together.  They attended school together.  They both played in the Bancroft Junior High orchestra.  And, they’ve kept in touch since 1949.  Including a few pieces recorded together, these two old friends have a lifetime of musical memories to talk about.

Arnold Steinhardt and Lincoln Mayorga – “From 0 to 75 in 60 Minutes” is slated for Saturday, May 11th at Club Helsinki in Hudson.  The show starts at 8 pm.  Tickets are $30.00 and can be purchased through or at the Helsinki Box Office – 518. 828.4800. By making pre-show dinner reservations, seating in the club in guaranteed.

The evening, a one-of-a-kind reminiscence, should actually be titled “From 0 – 76 in 60 Minutes” as that is the current age of these two gold-standard musicians.  Along with plenty of talk and laughter, the twosome will be playing the Brahms Sonata in A Major, the Grieg Sonata #3 in C Minor (recorded together in 1985), and Mayorga’s composition West Hollywood Rumba (created at the request of Steinhardt). “For any audience that comes,” says Steinhardt, “there will be stories and beautiful music.  We have a long history together.”

A musical force in her own right, the performance will be followed by a celebration of ClaverackLanding founder Gwen Gould’s 25 years producing concerts in Columbia County.

Concerts and education programs of ClaverackLanding: great music in great spaces, are supported in part by Herrington’s, Hudson River Bank & Trust Company foundation, T.Backer Fund, JSL Computer Services, and many generous individuals and business sponsors.