Farewell to Delia Steinberg Guzmán

Article By Sabine Leitner

posted by UK, September 8, 2023

Farewell to Delia Steinberg GuzmanI would like to dedicate this article to my teacher Delia Steinberg Guzmán, International President of New Acropolis from 1991 till 2020, who passed away peacefully on August 15. A few years ago, she said in an interview: “We should all take time to think: why are we in the world? Not because we feel so important, but because there must be some reason. We have come into the world, we are here. What can we do? The meaning and purpose of life is to be found in this question: What can I do, now that I am here? What can I improve, now that I am here? How can I help, now that I am here?”

Delia certainly lived all her life with this vocation to do something useful, to help others and to improve the world she encountered. For all those who knew her, she was an exceptional human being, a great example of wisdom, humanity, willpower, infinite kindness and a generous love that expected nothing in return.

Born on 7 January 1943 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, into a family of Jewish immigrants fleeing the horrors of the Second World War, she showed from an early age a natural propensity for profound questions and a great love for music. At the age of 17 she graduated as a Teacher of Piano and Composition and continued to study the piano for a concert career. However, when she was 23, she met New Acropolis and its founder Jorge Angel Livraga. Here is how she described this first encounter: “When the class had finished, I found myself in an indescribable state of inner happiness. In spite of the fact that it was already midnight, I walked home because I needed to breathe, to reflect, to go over all the events of the day, to get used to the idea that – at last! – I had found what I had always been looking for, a living philosophy.”

“After that class, I no longer had any doubts, none at all, because of the way he spoke, the way he explained things, his common sense, the fact that he never presented things – however mysterious and esoteric they might be – as something occult or magical, in the lower sense of those terms. He spoke with a lot of common sense, he presented things with great intelligence, with great clarity, very sensibly and when I was listening to him, I thought: that’s it, this is the Master I have been searching for all my life. I really felt a direct recognition towards him.”

A few years later, she decided to dedicate herself completely to New Acropolis. When asked whether it was difficult to give up her music career, she explained: “When I chose to leave my career as a pianist, I did so because I was convinced of something that Jorge Livraga had taught us: that philosophy is a music made by the soul.”

“Because philosophy fills the whole of life and is useful for every aspect of life. Philosophy is everything; it is everyday life, it is the meaning of life, it is the daily chores, it is the search for moral principles, it is the transformation of a society. And, with music I could not have done that, so it was not so difficult to choose.” “I found that speaking, expressing oneself with the soul, was much more important than anything else… It was the same as, or almost better than giving a concert…”

Music, however, continued to accompany her throughout the rest of her life and in 1982, she instituted the International Piano Competition which now bears her name. Some years later, in 1988, she founded the Tristan Music Institute that today operates in several countries and continues to expand.

All good teachers leave a mark and influence the lives of those they teach. Delia is no exception. She believed in her students and could see the best in everyone. Her love of others also inspired an enormous love towards her. One of her students wrote after her death: “The love that contained us all in your heart is so great that we just need to close our eyes and we can still feel your warm, generous and strong embrace. When we open them, we see the immensity of your work, which was a continuation of the work of your teachers and their teachers. We are truly fortunate…”

I would like to end with some of her own words, from her last book, The Path to Victory, that sum up the way she lived: “Practise loving continuously, because this is the best way to understand others. Help others cheerfully and generously, which is the best way to feel at ease with yourself.”

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