Energy, expression and emotion characterise Austrian top pianist Markus Schirmer’s music-making.
No matter where he tours he receives audience acclaim for his charismatic musicianship and his ability to tell vivid stories with the instrument. One of his reviews sums him up precisely: “A pied piper on the piano…music that comes straight from the heart, the brain and the fingertips.”
After intense studies with Rudolf Kehrer, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling or Paul Badura-Skoda the Graz born artist went on to win numerous prizes and honours and to take a number of major concert halls and festivals by storm: the Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Herkulessaal and Philharmonie am Gasteig/Munich, Suntory Hall/Tokyo, Wigmore Hall/London, Gewandhaus/Leipzig, Philharmonie and Konzerthaus/Berlin, Rudolfinum/Prague, Palais des Beaux Arts/Brussels, Finlandia Hall/Helsinki, Teatro Teresa Carreño/Caracas, Palau de la Musica/Valencia, Victoria Hall/Geneva, Festspielhaus/Baden-Baden, Teatro Olimpico/Vicenza, Megaron/Athens, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Festival international de piano “La Roque d´Antheron“, Ruhr Piano Festival, “Stars of White Nights Festival” St.Petersburg, Festival pianistico internazionale “Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli” Brescia, Vilnius Festival, Kissinger Sommer, styriarte, Bregenz Festival, Schubertiade, ISCM Music Festival and many more.
He has worked with renowned orchestras: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Orchestra St.Petersburg, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Sinfonia Varsovia, the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Vienna, Munich and Leipzig, Borusan Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Sir Charles Mackerras, Michael Gielen, John Axelrod, Fabio Luisi, Philippe Entremont, James Judd, Michael Gielen, Marie Jacquot and Philippe Jordan among others.
He adores Schubert above all but is also enthusiastic about more obscure works such as Britten’s ironic piano concerto, the transcendental solo piano oeuvre of Szymanowski or “Castelli Romani”, an epic piano concerto by Joseph Marx.
Chamber music plays an important role in his work and his partners have included Vadim Repin, Renaud Capuçon, Julian Rachlin, Benjamin Schmid, Sharon Kam, Nils Mönkemeyer, Christian Poltéra, Konstantin Krimmel, Angela Hewitt, Thomas Gansch, the Ensemble Wien-Berlin, the Hagen-Quartet and many others.
His love affair with the unusual, his daring and his eagerness to explore new territories ensure the development of sensational events outside the traditional classical repertoire: Markus Schirmer Energy, expression and emotion characterise Austrian top pianist Markus Schirmer’s music-making
– SCURDIA is an improvisation project which brings together extraordinary musicians from all over the world on one stage, thus allowing new artistic and creative energies to be set free by bridging various cultures.
– Markus Schirmer has great pleasure in working with actors, combining literature and music, and has developed unusual programs which are celebrated by audience and critics alike. In collaboration with the American singer and actress Helen Schneider f.e. he presented his own adaptation of Kurt Weill’s ”The Seven Deadly Sins” for voice and piano.
For his exceptional artistic diversity Markus Schirmer was awarded the “Music Manual Award“ and is a recipient of some of Austria’s most prestigious awards, the Karl Böhm Interpretation Prize and the “Ehrenzeichen für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst”.
He received the German Record Critics’ Award for his debut CD of Schubert Sonatas. Further recordings including works by Haydn, Beethoven, Ravel, Mussorgsky and his strongly acclaimed outing “The Mozart Sessions” together with the uplifting US chamber orchestra A FAR CRY have won numerous international prizes.
In the upcoming season he will be performing at many festivals and concert series in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Poland, UK, Bulgaria, the US, China and Austria. Among these concerts there will be first time collaborations with Adam Fischer and the Jerusalem String Quartet.
In addition to his work as a very successful Professor of Piano at the Music University in his hometown Graz – many of his students are acclaimed prizewinners – Markus Schirmer regularly gives international masterclasses for piano and is a sought after adjudicator at several prestigious piano competitions.
Furthermore, Markus Schirmer is artistic director of the international music festival ARSONORE, which every September invites world class musicians to perform in the Hall of Planets at Eggenberg Castle (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage) in Graz/Austria.