German pianist Lars Vogt. in a photo taken by his wife, violinist Anna Reszniak. (credit Anna Reszniak)

Lars Vogt passes away at age 51 after battle with cancer

Mark Gresham | 5 SEP 2022

German pianist and conductor Lars Vogt passed away at age 51 on Monday afternoon, September 5, 2022, only three days short of his 52nd birthday. He died peacefully at home in Nürnberg, surrounded by family.

Vogt was diagnosed with cancer in February 2021 after doctors discovered tumors in his throat and liver. Vogt is survived by his wife, violinist Anna Reszniak, and their three children.

Born in Düren, Germany, in 1970, Vogt studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling. Winning second prize at the 1990 Leeds International Piano Competition first brought him significant public attention. Since then, Vogt’s illustrious international career brought him to perform in concert halls across the globe, including multiple appearances as a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and recitals at Spivey Hall.

Lars Vogt, at the piano in a June 2013 concert with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1. (credit: Jeff Roffman)

Lars Vogt, at the piano in a June 2013 concert with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1. (credit: Jeff Roffman)

Vogt founded the chamber music festival ‘Spannungen’ in June 1998 and remained its artistic director ever since, held annually in a former Art Deco-styled hydroelectric power station in the village of Heimbach, near Cologne, in the Düren district of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

For the 2003-04 season, Vogt was appointed the first-ever pianist in residence for the Berlin Philharmonic.

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A prolific recording artist, Vogt released 46 albums over 30 years, from 1992 to 2022, primarily for the EMI, Avi, and Ondine labels, but also for Erato, LSO Live, Oehms, Berlins Classics, and ARS. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2016 in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category for an album of Brahms’ Piano Trios with Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff. In 2021, he won the esteemed Opus Klassik award.

Vogt was also a strong advocate for music education, establishing a program called ‘Rhapsody in School’, which brings his world-class colleagues to schools across Germany and Austria to interact with young students. In 2013 he became the Professor of Piano at the Hannover Conservatory of Music, succeeding Kämmerling, his own teacher, in that role.

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Vogt also became a conductor, and in May 2014, Vogt was announced by the Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS) as its next music director, taking effect in September 2015. After a successful five-year tenure, Vogt remained on board with the orchestra as its Principal Artistic Partner.

He was also named Music Director of Orchestre de Chambre de Paris in July 2020, for which he initially signed a three-year contract, which the orchestra soon extended to June 2025.

Prior to his death, Vogt had been poised to become Artist-in-Residence with Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern this season as both conductor and pianist. 

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Mark Gresham

Mark Gresham is publisher and principal writer of EarRelevant. he began writing as a music journalist over 30 years ago, but has been a composer of music much longer than that. He was the winner of an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for music journalism in 2003.