The show goes on for South Orange music teacher, students

Photo Courtesy of Marty Steinberg
Back row, from left, are Joseph Williams of Maplewood, Jordan Lipetz of Maplewood, teacher Marty Steinberg, Arun Bhattacharyya of New York and Matthew DeFranceschi of West Orange; and front row, from left, are Phoebe Eccles of South Orange, Natalie Simpson of West Orange and Grace Lee of Haworth.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The coronavirus didn’t stop cellist Marty Steinberg and students from his South Orange teaching studio from performing at their annual recital. 

Because of the pandemic, the eight players and audience members wore masks and maintained social distance for the Fourth of July performance at the outdoor amphitheater at Marshall Elementary School, steps from Steinberg’s house. 

At first, Steinberg was planning a Zoom recital, but he decided to hold the event outside to be able to accompany the students in their solo pieces. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, lessons had been held via FaceTime since March, but as the weather improved, individual lessons resumed outside, with participants wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart.

“The 2019-2020 academic year was one of huge challenges. Five of us were supposed to play at Carnegie Hall on June 17 with the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra, but the concert was canceled because of the coronavirus. That’s quite a disappointment,” Steinberg wrote in the program for the event. “Despite the exceptional challenges posed by social distancing, my students continued to make great strides in their cello studies.

“I know this could be quite difficult because it’s hard to stay motivated when you are forced to stay home. Video lessons have their benefits, but there’s nothing like being in the same room. Making music is all about working closely with other people to add rich harmony to those beautiful melodies,” he continued. “So thank you, my dear students, for hanging in there with video lessons, and thank you for your achievements. I hope what you have accomplished is as great an inspiration for you as it has been for me. So congratulations as you take the next step beyond the prelude in this game of life.”

The recital ended with a prelude from Bach’s C Major Cello Suite, performed by Steinberg; watch it at