Maranatha Baptist University students waited with eager anticipation to hear the 2018 finalists perform their selections during Fine Arts Chapel. The musicians performing at this event are competing to be the “Commencement Contest—Best in Show” winner, and the music faculty are pleased to announce violist Joseph Steinbart as this year’s winner. Majoring in Church Music, Steinbart performed Elegie by Vieuxtemps for the contest.
In addition to winning the 2018 Commencement Contest, Steinbart was recently awarded a large scholarship and graduate position at University of Louisville where he will study performance and pedagogy.
Lewis Rosove, Steinbart’s MBU viola teacher, wrote the following tribute in honor of his recent accomplishments.
“Joseph is one of the seven students I have taught during my career that made the switch from violin to viola. It took a bit of persuasion at first, but I felt that his physical build was more suited to the new instrument. What has happened since that switch? An amazing burst of progress, culminating in a stellar senior recital, the honor of playing in Fine Arts Chapel, and a rather substantial graduate school financial package!
Through the last five years I have seen a tremendous growth in his conception of musical style and tonal color with projection. In a way, this should not be surprising, because it was not uncommon for his practice hours to be at or near double the requirement for a Church Music major. His diligence to pursue a standard of excellence for His glory has been an unmistakable attribute the entire time I have worked with him. That standard is also quite evident in his tenure with the Heritage Singers.
Never during my association with Joseph have I witnessed him thinking solely of himself. He has shown care for others and has freely dispensed the gifts the Lord has given him to his Music Prep students. He has taken creative leadership in enriching the musical lives of those students and developed techniques, such as the internalization of rhythm, that have been so effective I have adopted them as well.
The possession of ability often corrupts and inflates the ego. Not so with Joseph. His demeanor is one of palpable humility and respect for authority. He has a questioning spirit, but not the way the world conceptualizes it. When Joseph exhibits that trait, it is submissive and designed to get the information he requires to more fully understand musical or technical aspects of his repertoire. Outside the studio he will ask me things that I believe are meant to sharpen my understanding of procedural, logistical or spatial concepts, particularly when we are on tour. He couches his phrasing in ways that make me really want to be better at what I do!
The day is rapidly approaching for Joseph's departure from campus life here at Maranatha. He will be sorely missed, but our loss will certainly be Louisville's gain. I am certain his life there will be a powerful witness to those that do not know the Savior.”