The leading pianist and conductor Lars Vogt has died at the age of 51, after being diagnosed with cancer in early 2021. The much-admired German musician had been speaking positively about his plans for the future, which included recordings and concerts. But his condition worsened suddenly over the weekend.

Vogt was open about living with his disease, sharing his experiences in various media outlets and on his Twitter feed. He had continued to perform throughout his treatment. In a recent interview for BBC Music Magazine (for our forthcoming November issue), he commented: ‘Everybody has to find their own way. Some would maybe feel they need to keep it private. But for me it was clear from the beginning that it’s part of my life now and I wanted people to be able to talk openly about it. Keeping normal contact was very important to me.’

Born in Düren, Germany, in 1970, Vogt first came to public attention when he won second prize at the 1990 Leeds International Piano Competition, leading to international appearances as a soloist in repertoire ranging from Bach to Lutoslawski.

During the next 30 years, he enjoyed a varied career as both a pianist and conductor. From 2015-20, he was music director of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and thereafter held the post of principal artistic partner. In July 2020 he took up the post of music director of the Orchestre de chambre de Paris.

Vogt also performed with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Concertgebouworkest, Orchestre de Paris, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony and NHK Symphony. His numerous recordings include works by Beethoven, Schubert, Dvořák, Brahms, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Janáček.

Philosophical until the end, he told BBC Music: ‘I hope, of course, that I have still some years ahead of me. But even if I don’t, it’s been such a rich life.'

Vogt leaves behind his wife, violinist and Nürnberger Symphoniker leader Anna Reszniak, and three children

Photo: Giorgia Bertazzi


Charlotte SmithEditor of BBC Music Magazine

Charlotte Smith is the editor of BBC Music Magazine. Born in Australia, she hails from a family of musicians with whom she played chamber music from a young age. She earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from London's Royal College of Music, followed by a master’s in English from Cambridge University. She was editor of The Strad from 2017 until the beginning of 2022, and has also worked for Gramophone Magazine and as a freelance arts writer. In her spare time, she continues to perform as an active chamber musician.