Robby Steinhardt, the co-founding violinist of Kansas, died on July 17th from complications of acute pancreatitis at the age of 71. Steinhardt, who was born in Lawrence, Kansas, co-founded an early version of Kansas in 1970 when his band Saratoga merged with White Clover. Steinhardt’s tenure in Kansas spanned two runs — from 1973 to 1982 and from 1997 to 2006, when he retired.
A statement for Robby Steinhardt’s family reads:
Robert Eugene Steinhardt, was well recognized as a founding member and original violinist and vocalist for the rock band Kansas. His violin and vocals on, ‘Dust In The Wind,’ ‘Point Of No Return,’ and ‘Carry On Wayward Son,’ have etched Robby a solid place in rock history.
Robby had been recording his new album with producer Michael Franklin, who put together an all-star cast of famous musicians in support of Robby’s comeback. Steinhardt was very proud of this project, slated for release in late 2021. He had begun rehearsals for a national tour when he became ill.
Robby is survived by his wife Cindy, and daughter Becky. Steinhardt was 71 years old. He will be deeply missed by all he knew and his music will last forever. A memorial will be announced in the future.
Kansas saluted its co-founder by posting:
The members of the band Kansas, past and present, wish to express our deepest sorrow over the death of our bandmate and friend, Robby Steinhardt.
Robby will always be in our souls, in our minds, and in our music.
What he brought to us as bandmates, to the fans who attended our concerts, and to the sound of Kansas, will always be heartfelt.
We love him and will miss him always.
Not long before he retired from the road, Robby Steinhardt told us that the band was playing as well as it had ever been: “Usually it’s good — I mean, especially on stage, it’s good. People are there deliberately to see us and to hear us play, and it pays off in our heads because we’re having a great time, and for them, it’s usually a good experience — we hope. The travel gets to bog you down a bit, but other than that, I love playing live.”