W. Eugene Smith, Conductor leaning toward violin section, baton gesture, from the Pittsburgh series, 1955–56
After establishing himself as a conductor in Germany, William Steinberg fled the Nazi regime in 1936, emigrating to Palestine and founding the Israel Philharmonic. It was there he gained the notice of Arturo Toscanini, who invited him to become associate conductor of the newly formed NBC Symphony. From there followed a number of successful tenures at major orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and a short run at the Boston Symphony. He is best known, however, for his years with the Pittsburgh Symphony, which he transformed into one of the most esteemed orchestras in the country. While he never achieved the superstar status of contemporaries such as Koussevitsky or Toscanini (Smith’s photo caption only indicates “conductor”), he was nevertheless widely respected in musical circles and loved by audiences.