© Marco Borggreve
Maurice Steger established himself as one of the most sought-after soloists in the Early Music scene soon after gaining his Soloists’ Diploma in 1995. The recorder player has had the great fortune of playing with some of the best Baroque orchestras all over the world, getting to know specific ways of, and varying approaches to, making music in the process. At the same time, Maurice Steger enjoyed a recorder player’s rare privilege of developing and touring internationally a Baroque repertoire with orchestras that play on modern instruments. He was increasingly being called upon to take a leading role, and so he decided to immerse himself in this subject and went on to study conducting.
Nowadays, Maurice Steger leads large orchestras and develops musical concepts mostly in the field of Early Music. He is thus not only a guest conductor of the hr and NDR radio orchestras – he also coordinates musical programmes and concepts. The artist is now in the 27rd season of teaming up on joint projects with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, which he also served for some years as Baroque Music Director. During this time, the transition was made from a modern to a historically oriented orchestra that deploys baroque tuning on period instruments, a switch that has proven to be a great success.
As programme director, Maurice Steger also developed formats such as the Children’s Concerts series. He also advocated such youth projects as the “Young Ears” scheme in Frankfurt’s Alte Oper opera house, and even created a character for children, the flute-playing prince Tino Flautino. The project was so successful that various sequels have been commissioned in the meantime for Early and modern music (written for Maurice Steger by R. Schacher and V. Fortin). Numerous debuts were performed, and there are story books relating the tales of www.tinoflautino.ch. Performers run workshops, play concerts in auditoriums and halls, and more than 600 events offer children the chance to hear all about the music and the world of stories in relation to the recorder, as well as some of the secrets surrounding the instrument.
Steger directed the Schafffhauser Recorder Festival for 13 years as well as the master classes at Waldegg Castle near Solothurn. He has been the Director of the Gstaad Baroque Academy since 2013, an institute that is part of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, which has managed to achieve an excellent reputation in next to no time, the president of the foundation Swiss Youth Music Competition, professor for recorder and performance practices at the Nuremberg University of Music and one of the most sought-after experts and jurors at all kinds of events and competitions worldwide.
Taking on the artistic direction of the International Recorder Festival is a matter very close to Maurice Steger’s heart, and he will continue to run the festival in the same spirit as its founder Wilhelm Becker: with ears that are open for emerging sounds, with a sense of tradition, an extensive network and great access to artists, ensembles, agencies, cross-genre organisations, and – most importantly – with great affection for music and for people.