PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At a news conference at the American Academy of Berlin in Germany today, Brown University’s vice provost for the arts, Michael P. Steinberg, was named the organization’s next president. The Brown faculty member and administrator — whose academic expertise spans history, music and German studies — will begin an extended leave of absence in August 2016 to take on his new role.
Founded in 1994 at the initiative of Brown alumnus Richard Holbrooke, then the American ambassador to Germany, the Academy is committed to maintaining the long-term intellectual, cultural and political ties between the U.S. and Germany.
“I am honored and excited to join the American Academy in Berlin at a moment of pressing need for its core principles of dialogue and collaboration in the humanities, arts and public policy,” Steinberg said. “The Academy shares these values with Brown, along with the insistence on their potential for knowledge building and social impact. Berlin's energy is palpable, global and hospitable, and the Academy has become a vital player in making it so.”
Steinberg joined the Brown community in 2005 and served as founding director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities until his appointment as vice provost for the arts. He also serves as the Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney Professor of History and as a professor of music and German studies. Steinberg’s research interests include the cultural history of modern Germany and Austria, with particular attention to Germany Jewish intellectual history and the cultural history of music.
“The American Academy in Berlin has made an inspired choice in this selection,” said Brown Provost Richard M. Locke. “Michael’s scholarly interests and accomplishments combined with his breadth of related experience make him particularly well-positioned for this compelling opportunity."
Steinberg takes over an organization that Der Spiegel has described as “the world’s most important center for American intellectual life outside the United States.” Since opening its doors, the American Academy in Berlin has built an extensive network in the academic, cultural, political and corporate communities of the U.S. and Germany, and its cross-cultural, interdisciplinary environment and creative programming have made the Academy a highly regarded center in Germany and beyond.
He will succeed Gerhard Casper, former president of Stanford University, who has led the Academy on an interim basis since July 2015.
About Michael Steinberg
Steinberg, vice provost of the arts at Brown, is the Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney Professor of History with further appointments as professor of music and professor of German studies. Previously, he served as founding director of the University’s Cogut Center for the Humanities.
Educated at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, he has been a visiting professor at both institutions as well as the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and National Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
His main research interests include the cultural history of modern Germany and Austria with particular attention to German Jewish intellectual history and the cultural history of music. He has written and lectured widely on these topics for the New York Times and at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Bard Music Festival, and the Salzburg Festival.
Steinberg has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and has received the Berlin Prize from the American Academy, Berlin.
He is the author of studies of Hermann Broch, Aby Warburg, Walter Benjamin, and Charlotte Salomon. The German edition of his book Austria as Theater and Ideology: The Meaning of the Salzburg Festival (Cornell University Press, 2000) — Ursprung und Ideologie der Salzburger Festspiele (Anton Pustet Verlag, 2000) — won Austria’s Victor Adler Staatspreis in 2001. His book Listening to Reason: Culture, Subjectivity, and 19th-Century Music, was published by Princeton University Press in early 2004, and Judaism Musical and Unmusical was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007.
Steinberg has served as associate editor of The Musical Quarterly and The Opera Quarterly and as a member of the international advisory board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes. Between 2010 and 2013, he was dramaturg to the new production of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, and the Berlin State Opera.