The Berliner Philharmoniker mourn the death of Oswald Vogler, who was principal timpanist with the orchestra until 1997. Born in Hamm (Westphalia) in 1930, he began his studies at the conservatory in Dortmund at the age of 15. In 1949, he became timpanist with the Städtisches Orchester Hagen, and principal timpanist with the Bochumer Symphoniker in 1952.
In 1970, Oswald Vogler joined the Berliner Philharmoniker after he had participated on a trial basis in a performance of Anton Bruckner's Eighth Symphony under Karl Böhm and impressed with his “musical assurance and precision” (Böhm). In addition to his position as principal timpanist, Oswald Vogler was involved as a teacher for the Karajan Academy; in 1981 he also became a professor at the University of the Arts Berlin. In a letter of recommendation to the university, Herbert von Karajan declared that Oswald Vogler was one of the “top representatives in his field” who “can be counted on one hand in the whole world”.
Oswald Vogler was lauded above all for the sensitive, nuanced treatment of his instrument. “We don’t just strike, we play,” was his motto. Oswald Vogler died on 26 December at the age of 90.