The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra joins the classical music world in mourning the passing of pianist, conductor, and educator Lars Vogt. Vogt passed away on September 5 from cancer. He was 51.
A regular soloist with the SLSO, Vogt appeared with the orchestra six times from 1997 to 2019, performing music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Edvard Grieg, W.A. Mozart, Robert Schumann, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He was known for his refinement at the keyboard and was described as “an elegant musician who carefully considers every aspect of the score” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
He was also known for his sense of humor and connection with the musicians of orchestras with whom he collaborated.
Of the SLSO, Vogt told St. Louis Public Radio in March 2019, “It’s one of my favorite orchestras, full-stop, in the world. It’s such a joyful experience to make music with them.”
He noted that each musician of the SLSO welcomed him enthusiastically and he felt close to the musicians and audiences in St. Louis.
“Music is all about this connection and enjoying it together,” he told St. Louis Public Radio. “It’s a joyful spirit of life. And so moving, and fun!”
Vogt was also a frequent collaborator and personal friend of SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève. He was scheduled to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in January 2022—an appearance that was canceled due to cancer treatment.
Denève shared this tribute to Vogt:
“Dear music lovers,
I am devastated by the tragic loss of our dear friend Lars Vogt. My thoughts are first for his three children and his wife Anna, with the deepest compassion and affection.
This is so sad... The music world has lost a generous and kind-hearted soul, an inspiring and visionary artist, a unique poet and storyteller, and a truly wonderful pianist, conductor, and teacher.
I have lost a very close friend too, who I loved so much. We made music together all over the world for twenty years, always with joy and passion. I am grieving his most genuine and honest friendship, his famous sense of humor, his incredible enthusiasm, and appetite for life. We performed together in St. Louis Beethoven's third piano concerto in 2013. Lars was back with the SLSO most recently in 2019 and he was scheduled for a return with us last season, which he sadly had to cancel due to his cancer treatment.
Lars, we will never forget you, and I will miss you forever. Mon si bon Lars, tu étais un merveilleux ami, un immense artiste, un formidable compagnon de vie. Je t'aime très fort, pour toujours.
Vogt is survived by his wife and three children.