The Stoeger Prize for composers of chamber music was established by a generous gift from Milan Stoeger as a memorial to his wife, Elise, and in gratitude for the music that had been one of the principal joys of their lives. The Prize is awarded in recognition of achievement in the field of chamber music composition rather than for a specific work.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 2014-2015 Elise L. Stoeger Prize has been awarded to Austrian composer Thomas Larcher. The Stoeger Prize, a $25,000 cash award and the largest of its kind, is given every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the field of chamber music composition. Chamber Music Society Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han commented on the announcement:
We are thrilled to present the 2014-2015 Stoeger Prize to Thomas Larcher. As a composer of great achievement on canvasses both large and small, he merits specific recognition for his work in the highly concentrated art form of chamber music, for which his bountiful sonic imagination is tremendously well suited. We find his music deeply communicative yet uncompromising, essential qualities for the ongoing vitality of the chamber music tradition, so it is with great pleasure that we add his name to the already luminous roster of Stoeger Prize recipients.
Thomas Larcher responded:
All I have learned in music I learned by writing and playing chamber music: listening, breathing, balancing, living and working in and for a community. Chamber Music has always been the heart of music making. It comprises all the facets that music can contain and express, and has always been a field where new ideas have been explored, and where composers have opened doors which were crucial for them. I am very touched and honored that the Chamber Music Society considers my work to be a part of this great tradition.
The Chamber Music Society will present Larcher’s Mumien for Cello and Piano during the 2015-2016 season of its New Music. Previously, his composition Kraken for Piano, Violin, and Cello, was performed on the series in February 2014.
Born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1963, Thomas Larcher studied composition and piano in Vienna. His early works are primarily characterized by a concentrated focus on the piano and its tonal qualities. He began moving beyond his origins as a pianist with a series of string quartets Cold Farmer (1999), Ixxu (1998–2004) and Madhares (2006–2007), followed by concertos – Still (2002) for viola and orchestra, Böse Zellen for piano and chamber orchestra (2006) and the Violin Concerto (2008) written for Isabelle Faust. Larcher first turned his attention to the human voice in 2002 with My Illness is the Medicine I Need for soprano and piano trio. He then went on to compose vocal works such as Die Nacht der Verlorenen (2008) for baritone Matthias Goerne and the London Sinfonietta and the song cycle for tenor and piano, A Padmore Cycle (2012). Red and Green, his first major orchestral score, written for the San Francisco Symphony and conducted by Osmo Vanska, premiered in 2011. The Double Concerto for violin and cello was also commissioned and premiered in 2011 at the BBC Proms with Viktoria Mullova and Matthew Barley under the direction of Ilan Volkov. Larcher was recognized for this work with the British Composer Awards’ International Category Award in 2012.
Larcher’s current projects include a new work for baritone Matthias Goerne and orchestra (commissioned by ZaterdagMatinee Amsterdam, the NSO Washington and Gewandhaus Leipzig) and a new string quartet for the Belcea Quartet’s 20th anniversary. Future plans also include a concerto for orchestra for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Semyon Bychkov in June 2016. His works have been recorded by ECM, and his new CD What becomes with Mark Padmore and Tamara Stefanovich was released on Harmonia Mundi in 2014. His recordings have been awarded several international prizes, including the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Choc de la musique and the Diapason d’Or.
Larcher has been Composer in Residence at festivals in Davos, Heimbach, Risör, Mondsee and Bantry and at the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, the Vienna Konzerthaus and Wigmore Hall in London.In 1994, Thomas Larcher founded the “Klangspuren” festival, and served as its Artistic Director until 2003. In 2004 he created the Swarovski “Musik im Riesen” Festival in Wattens, Austria, which he still runs.
String Quartet No.3, 'Madhares', 2. Honey from Anopolis
My Illness Is the Medicine I Need for Soprano, Violin, Violoncello, and Piano, I.
Mumien for Cello and Piano, I. Tempo giusto