A shining star in the firmament
The passing away of Lars Vogt, our Musical Director, on September 5th plunged all of us—the members of the Board, the musician artists, the administrative and technical staff of the orchestra—into deep sadness, so imbued with profound humanity were the relationships that Lars wove with each one of us. Though words do not seem adequate, we would like to pay homage to him with these few lines.
Lars, as we all know, was an artist of the highest calibre: an international soloist, a sought-after chamber musician and conductor… The pianist who has needed no introduction since 1990 and his revelation at the Leeds piano competition. Even then, Sir Simon Rattle already foresaw his future in conducting, though it would be quite a few years before this came to pass, in 2014 when Lars became Musical Director of the Royal Northern Symphonia Newcastle. In 2018, he had his first encounter with the musicians of the Orchestre de chambre de Paris, for a memorable concert in which he played Schumann’s Piano Concerto and conducted the Fourth Symphony by the same composer.
As Musical Director of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, a position he took up in July 2020, Lars continued developing his undeniable artistic talents, and his appetite for play-and-direct and for conducting. Beyond his qualities as musical director, we discovered in him a true leader. Consistent with the man he was in life, his conducting was full of kindness and humanity. He knew how to form a unique, individual relationship with each and every musician, so that their community of artists flourished in a spirit of shared excellence. Within a matter of months, he had won not only the trust of his musicians, but also their cohesion and faith in his vision.
His tenure at the head of the orchestra, despite the pandemic, was particularly rich in artistic highlights. In the summer of 2020, he marked his arrival with a wonderful, recorded concert of Mozart’s ‘Jeunehomme’ Concerto in the gardens of Hôtel de Sully, Centre des Monuments Nationaux in Paris, which was broadcast via France Télévisions. Subsequently, he illuminated with his talent a re-broadcast of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, conducting from the piano at the Philharmonie de Paris. In January 2021, he joined forces with tenors Christoph and Julian Prégardien in a concert entitled ‘Père et Fils’ (‘father and son’) with choreography by Thierry Thieû Niang. In remarkably little time, Lars Vogt had conquered the audiences of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Philharmonie de Paris, the orchestra’s two main places of residence.
His recording activities were also intensive. A first Mendelssohn album released on the Ondine label in March 2022 met with unanimous critical acclaim. His recording of Mozart’s Concertos Nos. 9 and 24 is yet to be released. One finds the same energy in the pleasure he took in playing in a chamber ensemble with the musicians of his orchestra as in playing with friends of his such as Christian Tetzlaff and Antje Weithaas.
As he liked to say, ‘In music, many things are a question of alchemy’. Lars ‘wanted to take the orchestra’s intensity ever further and to reach the moon’. We miss him terribly. For us, he is now a shining star in the firmament of the orchestra, whose light will forever illuminate our way.
To his wife Anna, who supported him so steadfastly, to his daughters and family, we extend our affection and our deepest condolences. You are very much in our thoughts and our hearts.
Brigitte Lefèvre, Chair of the Board of Directors, and Nicolas Droin, Executive Director