Markus Schirmer

Schirmer Markus

General Information


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 Philharmonic (Munich), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Wigmore Hall (London), Gewandhaus (Leipzig), Konzerthaus (Berlin), Rudolfinum (Prague), Palais des Beaux Arts (Brussels), Finlandia Hall (Helsinki), Teatro Teresa Carreño Caracas), 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, Festival pianistico internazionale "Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli" (Brescia), Vilnius Festival, Kissinger Sommer, Styriarte, Bregenz Festival, Mondseetage, International Beethoven Festival Poland, ISCM-World Music Festival and many more.


He has worked with renowned orchestras: the Wiener Philharmoniker, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Orchestra St.Petersburg, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Wiener Symphoniker, English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Sinfonia Varsovia, the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Vienna, Munich and Leipzig, 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, Yan-Pascal Tortellier, Philippe Entremont, Pinchas Steinberg, Roy Goodman 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 oeuvres 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 Julian Rachlin, Renaud Capuçon, Benjamin Schmid, Clemens Hagen, Christian Altenburger, Franz Bartolomey, Peter Schmidl, Danjulo Ishizaka, Patrick Demenga, the Artis Quartet, the Auryn Quartet, the Carmina Quartet, the Streichtrio Berlin 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:

  • "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 presents 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" at the Euromusic International Music Convention and is a recipient of one of Austria’s most prestigious awards, the Karl Böhm Interpretation Prize.
He received the German Record Critics’ Award for his debut CD of Schubert Sonatas. Further recordings including sonatas by Haydn and Beethoven, the Mozart Piano Quartets with the Stringtrio Berlin and his set "Pictures & Reflections" have won international prizes.


Performances at many festivals and concert series in the United States, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, China, Italy, Turkey, Finland, Russia, Croatia, Australia and Austria.
In addition to his work as Professor of Piano at the Music University in his hometown Graz Markus Schirmer regularly gives international masterclasses for piano and is a sought after adjudicator at several prestigious piano competitions.



since 2000: teaching piano soloists

much sought-after juror in many international piano competitions

committed to "Live Music Now", a charitable scheme that was founded by Lord Yehudi Menuhin to support gifted musicians



PeriodAwardCompositionAwarding Organisation


International Music-Exhibition EUROMUSIC: Music Manual Award

Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik

Discography, Projects



  • 2012: Markus Schirmer & A Far Cry - The Mozart Sessions [paladino music]
  • 2011: Beethoven piano sonatas vol. 3 [Tacet]
  • 2011: SCURDIA – Markus Schirmer & friends - United live [Lotus Records]
  • 2009: Beethoven piano sonatas vol. 2 [Tacet]
  • 2005: Pictures & Reflections [Tacet]
  • 2005: EXPEDITION KLAVIER - Hören-Spielen-Entdecken mit beiliegender CD [Wiener Urtext Edition]
  • 2003: Beethoven piano sonatas vol. 1 [Tacet]
  • 2002: W.A.Mozart: Die Klavierquartette (mit dem Streichtrio Berlin/vorm. Gaede Trio) [Tacet]
  • 1999: Engel im Kopf – Markus Schirmer & Wolfram Berger [ORF]
  • 1995/2009: Joseph Haydn: Klaviersonaten [Lotus Records]
  • 1994/2009: Franz Schubert: Klaviersonaten [Lotus Records]


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