Maurice Steger lives in Zurich, where he began to study the recorder at an early age with Pedro Memelsdorff and Kees Boeke. This was followed by study of performing practice in early music and then training as a conductor. A number of distinctions and the award of the Karajan Prize in 2002 encouraged him to express himself through the recorder in all its facets. His lively manner and his personal, spontaneous and technically brilliant playing style have helped to revalorise the recorder as an instrument and give it an entirely new place in the musical world. He has been acclaimed as the ‘Paganini of the recorder’ ( Neue Zürcher Zeitung) and ‘the world’s leading recorder virtuoso’ (The Independent). With his worldwide concert schedule as soloist and conductor, he has succeeded in establishing himself as one of the leading interpreters and most popular soloists in the early music field.
In his core repertoire of Baroque music, Maurice Steger is a much sought-after soloist with the leading period-instrument groups, including Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Venice Baroque Orchestra, The English Concert, Accademia Bizantina, Europa Galante, and I Barocchisti. A busy concert diary also sees him performing regularly with ensembles playing on modern instruments, like the Zürcher Kammerorchester and Les Violons du Roy, and also with numerous symphony orchestras. He frequently appears as recorder player or conductor with renowned artists including Cecilia Bartoli, Hilary Hahn, Andreas Scholl, Bernard Labadie, Sandrine Piau, Diego Fasolis, Sol Gabetta, and Nuria Rial.
In chamber music, he works as a team with his colleagues Hille Perl, Lee Santana, Naoki Kitaya, Mauro Valli, Dorothee Oberlinger, Sebastian Wienand and many others to explore previously unknown repertory from the past, and constantly experiments with new forms of concerts in both early and contemporary music. With this in mind he created the character of ‘Tino Flautino’, which he has played at hundreds of children’s concerts, thus giving even the youngest listeners a playful introduction to classical music.
Maurice Steger’s Corelli project, devoted to English orchestral arrangements of the op.5 sonatas embellished with lavishly virtuosic ornamentation by Handel’s contemporaries, has breathed new life into a forgotten performing tradition. The associated CD ‘Mr Corelli in London’, which he recorded with The English Concert, won golden opinions from public and press alike. He has also played his thematic projects, such as ‘Una Follia di Napoli’, in many different formations – from chamber recitals to concerts with both modern and period orchestras – all over Europe and in America, Africa, and Asia.
Other outstanding releases in his discography are the recorder quartets of Telemann (Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv), the album ‘Venezia 1625’ and recorder works by Telemann (harmonia mundi), and his own productions for children. Many of them have won major international prizes. This ever-enthusiastic musician gives several masterclasses every year and became director of the Gstaad Baroque Academy in 2013. In all these activities, he is delighted to observe the emergence of a new generation of top-class young recorder players.
Images: © Marco Borggreve 2008 for harmonia mundi