After studies with Wilhelm Rabot und Hans Winkelmann in Hannover, he started his career in 1939
at the Staatstheater Hannover (debut role: Nando in Tiefland). He stayed at that theater until 1941.
After contracts in Posen/Poznań (1941/42) and Gera (1942–44), he became mayor of his home town Bad Gandersheim in
1945. In 1946, he resumed his singing career in Göttingen; 1947–49 in
Kassel, 1949–53 in Krefeld, 1953–55 in Braunschweig, 1955/56 in Freiburg, and from 1956 in Zürich, where he was
a member of the theater until 1982, and returned as a guest until 1995 (!). During that long period, he made guest appearances
throughout Switzerland, at the Vienna Staatsoper (one single performance as Don Ottavio), in Mannheim, at the Deutsche Oper am
Rhein and the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Into his earlier Zürich years, he was a lyrical tenor: Tamino, Ferrando, Duca, Alfredo, Fenton in Falstaff, Froh, Bacchus,
Turiddu, Nureddin in Der Barbier von Bagdad, Hoffmann, Rodolfo, Cavaradossi, Pinkerton, Rinuccio, Almaviva, Jeník. Later
on, and throughout his career on the radio, he was a comprimario.
Steinhoff sang a lot of contemporary opera in Zürich. On 6 September 1961, he participated in the world premiere of
Martinů's Greek passion in the role of Michelis. He also took part in the Swiss premieres of: Aroldo
(1956/57 season as Godvino), Schule der Frauen by Rolf Liebermann (1957/58 as Horace), A midsummer might's dream
by Britten (1960/61 as Lysander), Mystère de la Nativité by Frank Martin (1961/62 as Ysambert), Karl
V. by Krenek (1969/70 as Henry Mathys), Der Besuch der alten Dame by Gottfried von Einem (1971/72 as Koby), Jakob
Lenz by Wolfgang Rihm (1982/83 as Kaufmann), Owen Wingrave by Britten (1986/87 as Sir Philip Wingrave),
Rothschilds Geige von B. Flejschman (1987/88 as Rothschild), Lear by Aribert Reimann (1987/88 als Kent) and
Venus by Othmar Schoeck (1988/89 as Baron de Zarandelle).
He had a career as a concert tenor, too. Married to the singer May Torrend (1911–2009).
Reference 1: Kutsch & Riemens, reference 2