Remembering Lars Vogt

Lars Vogt, the renowned German pianist and conductor, passed away on Monday, September 5. He was 51. In March of 2021, Vogt was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in his throat and liver. Born in the town of Düren in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, Vogt rose to prominence after winning second prize at the 1990 Leeds International Piano Competition. He went on to perform as a soloist with the world’s greatest orchestras. He …

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A Snapshot of Janacek with Jessica Lee

This week, the Cleveland Orchestra announced that Korean-American violinist Jessica Lee has been appointed assistant concertmaster (the fourth chair). Lee is a native of my adopted hometown, Richmond, Virginia. Although our paths never crossed (she left before I arrived in 2002), many of my Richmond Symphony colleagues remember her fondly. A graduate of Juilliard and Curtis, Jessica Lee has been a long-time member of the Johannes String Quartet. (You can see her in action …

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Music of Romantic Obsession

From Vincent Van Gogh to Charlotte Brontë, artists, writers, and composers have occasionally entered the strange, darkly irrational world of romantic obsession. With Halloween approaching, let’s take a walk on the creepy side and explore three pieces which grew out of (what some would call) unhealthy romantic obsessions: Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique Written partially under the influence of opium, Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique takes us into strange, hallucinogenic territory. It summons new sounds from the orchestra, which must …

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