Earlier during the weekend, I learned that Fred Steiner, composer, conductor of music for television for more than forty years, died on June 23rd. Among his list of notable credits are the theme for Perry Mason as well as additional music for that series, along with music scored for episodes of Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Rawhide, The Wild, Wild West…and, yes, the original Star Trek.
February 24, 1923 – June 23, 2011
Mr. Steiner contributed more scores for the original series than any other composer, providing indelible musical atmosphere for memorable episodes like “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” “Balance of Terror,” and “Mirror, Mirror.” His themes and cues carried with them a versatility that enhanced the episodes for which they were composed, but also allowed them to be used in numerous other episodes throughout the series’ run.
Some of my all-time favorite music from the series — the music to which I most often listen while writing my own Star Trek stories…particularly for the Vanguard series and now the original series novel that’s my current project — were composed by Fred Steiner. Indeed, I was listening to a shuffle of music from the series while writing when I took a break, started surfing the net, and found the first news article reporting his passing.
Along with composers Alexander Courage, George Duning, Jerry Fielding, Gerald Fried, Sol Kaplan, Sam Matlovsky, and Joseph Mullendore, Fred Steiner helped to give the original Star Trek its iconic musical identity.
You can review a list of Mr. Steiner’s credits at the fan site Star Trek Soundtracks: Fred Steiner
Rest in peace, sir.