Harriet Steinke is an American composer from Detroit, Michigan. She has received commissions and performances across the U.S. and fellowships from the Soundstreams Composer Workshop, Norfolk New Music Workshop, and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Favorite projects include works for Tanglewood, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Pro Musica of Detroit, the piano sextet Grand Band, and the Ann Arbor-based mixed ensemble Virago, who recently released their debut EP of Steinke’s work Listening for Bells.
While living in Detroit, Harriet founded the Detroit Composers’ Project, an organization that partners with performers, ensembles, and institutions to facilitate performances of new work. She previously worked in artistic operations for the Detroit-based nonprofit ArtOps and served on the Board of Directors for the young women’s choir One Voice. She also freelances as a grant writer and project manager for several arts and non-arts organizations.
Harriet studied harmony and counterpoint at the EAMA-Nadia Boulanger Institute in Paris, France as well as German language and literature at the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. She studied composition at Butler University where her primary mentor was composer Michael Schelle and she is currently pursuing graduate studies at the Yale School of Music where she studies with composers Martin Bresnick, David Lang, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Chris Theofanidis. She is very grateful for other mentors she’s had throughout her studies including composers Frank Felice, Ronald Caltabiano, Michael Gandolfi, Joan Tower, Philip Lasser, Andrew Wagonner, and Huw Watkins.
"Harriet Steinke has a beautiful ear. Her music lures me into a sonorous space of tender moodiness and a patient disquiet…Harriet is a rising star.”
— pianist Lisa Moore
“…This music is the antidote to those who say all new music is about struggle and strife, fearful of expression and especially of tenderness…Harriet Steinke knows how to control the flow and ebb of mass, to let sound surge and wane, in a way entirely of her own intuition.”
— composer Piers Hellawell
“…I find her music to be an excellent balance of being intellectually challenging and emotionally gratifying—always interesting, fun and never too far away from being in touch with beauty.”
— violinist Philip Setzer, Emerson String Quartet