Rita Katherine Steblin

22-Apr-1951 - 03-Sep-2019

Obituary Overview

Rita Katherine Steblin


In Memoriam.
Celebration of Life to be held on October 6, 2019 at 2:00pm in her home church of Richmond Baptist Church 6640 Blundell Rd, Richmond

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden and unexpected passing of Rita Steblin, on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at the age of 68.

Rita Katherine Steblin was born April 22, 1951, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada to Sergej and Renata Steblin; the oldest of six children, Rita had a special relationship with her father, who inspired her to pursue what would become her passion – music. In addition, Rita excelled scholastically all throughout elementary and secondary school, even skipping second grade. Continuing in her lifelong pursuit of excellence, she graduated as valedictorian of Richmond High School, class of ’68, to pursue her career in music thereafter. 

She was a talented musicologist, specializing in archival work combining music history, iconography and genealogical research. After obtaining degrees in Vancouver, Toronto and Urbana, Illinois, and studying at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Vienna, Rita worked in Canada (mainly in Vancouver) and since 1991 in Vienna first at the Internationales Franz-Schubert-Institut (de) and then as an independent researcher on Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and social life in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century in Austria (including Hungary and Bohemia).

Her numerous academic contributions and discoveries will impact the musical community for generations to come; we, her family, will remember her passion, her will and her loving kindness. As an adult she was beloved by her many nieces and nephews, and that tradition continues with her great nieces and nephews. Whenever she was visiting, all the kids would look forward to piano lessons, wild adventures around the city and the candy and bubble gum that was sure to be found in her pockets.
Rita will be lovingly remembered by her mother, Renata, and siblings, Victor (Teresa), Elvira (Roger), Peter (Lynda), Denis (Laura) and Gordon (Ingrid), as well as her many nieces and nephews and numerous other family members and friends.
Rita was predeceased by her father, Sergej Myron Steblin.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 2:00pm in her home church of Richmond Baptist Church (6640 Blundell Rd, Richmond).

Condolences from family and friends

Posted by Stephen Husarik | 26-Mar-2020


I was stunned when I heard about Rita’s passing on Setember 3, 2019 from her family members. I had communicated with her by email just a few weeks before and we were to visit our favorite restaurant—Café Frauenhuber (also a favorite of Beethoven) to discuss Beethoveniana, general research and my particular topic for a conference In Vienna. I missed the celebratory church service for her in St. Peters just a few days before my arrival, but I know that Rita is now in Heaven with the angels where she surely belongs. We became friends over years because of my interest in Beethoven research and the fact that we had attended the University of Illinois at the same time. Rita was a consummate scholar who produced a large body of detailed and highly accurate scholarship in the areas of Beethoven and Schubert. Whenever I think of the portrait of Beethoven as a young boy located in The Hofburg, Vienna (the only extant portrait of him at that age), I think of Rita. She was responsible for having it placed in the museum. Putting aside the large body of her scholarly publications (especially on the issue of Beethoven’s “distant beloved”), that pictorial contribution to musical iconography is one of her major accomplishments in my mind. I will miss Rita.

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Posted by James Wright | 11-Nov-2019


I was profoundly shocked and saddened to learn of Rita's passing. While I never had the honour of meeting Dr. Steblin, I enjoyed correspondence with her, primarily on the topic of Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved," in connection with my chamber art song cycle for piano trio and baritone (or mezzo-soprano), titled "Letters to the Immortal Beloved." The depth and breadth of Dr. Steblin's scholarly contribution is truly staggering. I was beginning to put together an Order of Canada nomination package for her when I learned of her passing. She was a deeply gifted musicologist and teacher, an exemplary Canadian, and as fine a person as one could hope to encounter in this career. With my most sincere and heartfelt condolences to her loved ones, J. James K. Wright, Ph.D. Louis Applebaum Distinguished Visiting Professor in Composition (2019-20), University of Toronto Professor (Full), School for Studies in Art & Culture A817 Loeb Building, Carleton University 1125 Colonel By Drive Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6 Email: James.Wright@carleton.ca Website: http://jameskwright.com Telephone : (613) 520-2600 (ext. 3734)

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