Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Downtown North Tour

Yale Collection of Musical Instruments and Morris Steinert

15 Hillhouse Avenue

Building housing the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, 2016. Courtesy Aaron Goode.

Morris Steinert, c. 1890s. Courtesy Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven Archives.

Born in 1831, Moritz (later Morris) Steinert was a Bavarian Jew who immigrated to the United States in 1850. He was living in Georgia in 1861 when the start of the American Civil War led to his relocation to New Haven. Through his acquaintance with piano manufacturer and fellow German immigrant William Steinway, Steinert became a distributor of Steinway Pianos. By the 1880s M. Steinert & Sons was one of the most successful piano dealerships in New England. The company still exists today, based in Boston. Combining his musical and philanthropic interests, Steinert founded the New Haven Symphony in 1894. A talented multi-instrument musician himself (he played piano, organ, flute, cello, and violin), Steinert was one of the original members of the orchestra. Steinert was also an avid collector of rare and antique instruments. His collection was donated to Yale in 1900, and became the early core of the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments.

  • Text source courtesy Aaron Goode and Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven Archives.

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