The pianist who is playing through cancer

The pianist who is playing through cancer

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norman lebrecht

May 15, 2021

The German pianist Lars Vogt told Twitter the other day that he was starting  a second round of chemotherapy for cancer.

Van magazine asked Vogt, 50, how he keeps up his playing during treatment.

Funnily enough, I even play sometimes during the chemo. I’m always in the clinic for two days at a time, and there’s an upright in the cancer ward. Before they hook me up to the infusion I usually go upstairs and play a little for myself. When I’m hooked up to the infusion, I stumble through half the clinic with the stand at my side into the palliative ward, where there’s a grand piano. And I play a little, and whoever wants can listen. As long as it doesn’t bother people. No one’s complained so far. [Laughs.] But of course I’m not practicing, just playing things that give me joy.

Besides that I’m trying to keep up with it, playing for an hour or two a day, which is fun. You need to preserve your strength, but also keep things in order. Usually I feel pretty good until the afternoon, but I’ve often made the mistake of thinking that things are normal, and doing a bunch of stuff, and then I don’t feel great in the evening. I need to remind myself to take a break and lie down. Then I feel better in the evening. 

Read on here.

Comments

  • Derek H says:

    I wish him well and a return to good health.

    He is a very good pianist and seems such a friendly and thoroughly worth while person.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    I’m very sorry to hear this news. I send Lars Vogt the very best wishes for a full recovery.

    Chemo therapy is no fun. It is heartening to read how positive he is, and that he is even turning the drawn-out treatment to good effect!

  • M McAlpine says:

    Wishing Lars all the best for a good recovery

  • A.L. says:

    I am profoundly sorry to learn Mr. Vogt is suffering from cancer. Sending my best for a speedy and full recovery. He is an exceptional pianist and musician and his recording of the Goldberg Variations left a deep impression on me; no small feat considering a thrice familiar work and stiff competition both historical and present.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    Heartbreaking but also somehow uplifting words. As someone in a similar position I found this article very moving and also very helpful. I know exactly what he means about Brahms giving solace. Thank you for posting this Norman.

  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    The last Q/A is wonderful and, I think, worth quoting in full

    [Q]”Is there anything about this illness that makes sense to you?”

    [A]”In the last several years, I often had the feeling that time was passing insanely fast. It was so easy to imagine a “whoosh,” and suddenly I’m 80, and the day is done. It’s something that I think a lot of us experience, an accelerando where time keeps flying by more quickly.

    Before the illness, I was often depressed, even if it was just for a day or two. I’d stay in bed and think: “Oh God, I’m so old.” Funnily, because of the illness that’s completely disappeared. I’m rarely so defeated. More often I’m utterly happy. ”

    Thanks for posting this – and we hope the best for this great musician !

  • erich says:

    This is so incredibly sad but at the same time so terribly brave and uplifting, that he can nevertheless take such a posititive attitude. He is not only a truly great musician but also an extremely good and kind man. One must really hope that between his doctors and his evident inner strength, a way can be found to keep this terrible illness in check and allow him to spend more time both with his family and continuing to delight his audiences.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Lars Vogt is an inspiration to all of us. Gute Besserung.

  • RW2013 says:

    Very sad to hear.
    Excellent pianist.
    Gute Besserung!

  • Aus Wien ... says:

    Wonderful man! Alles Gute!

  • Emma says:

    He is such a wonderful pianist. I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery!

  • Norman Krieger says:

    Such an inspiring and uplifting interview. Wishing Lars a full recovery and many many more years filled with great health, a joyful time with his family and music!!

  • Louise Hynd says:

    Wonderful musician. Wonderful person. Get well soon dearest Lars.

  • NYCgirl says:

    Wishing him all the best!

  • Herr Doktor says:

    The whole interview is well worth reading. Best wishes to Lars Vogt for a full recovery, and if that’s not possible, then for many more good years. He’s a wonderful pianist and I’ve enjoyed hearing him in concert a number of times over the years.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    All best wishes for success of the chemo and a return to health, then the concert stage and/or podium!

  • Greg Bottini says:

    I’ll add my wishes to the chorus for a speedy and complete recovery to you, Lars. I’ve been admirer of your wonderful art for a long time.
    Hang in there, buddy!

  • christopher storey says:

    Let’s not be too sad yet awhile . The cure rate for so many cancers now is vastly improved over that of even 15 years ago . May Lars Vogt soon be back to full health

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Praying for his full and healthy recovery. Such a wonderful person and musician. Stay safe and strong.

  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    You can remind yourself here how wonderful his Leeds Competition performance of Schumann concerto was

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9o2Y5MZkEU

  • Jaap van Heerdenen says:

    I am heartened by Lars’ incredibly positive approach to his condition and I wish him and his family all the best. I hope to be able to hear his wonderful playing for many, many more years!

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