Biographie | Markus Becker - Pianist

Markus Becker - Pianist

Discoverer – Virtuoso – Translator


              »As a musical virtuoso Markus Becker is unbeatable,
              an intelligent creator of soulful musical portraits.«

                   Eleonore Büning, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Opening Ears – Setting Standards

Markus Becker has convinced his audiences and critics alike for many years on international concert stages as a highly formative interpreter of piano literature from Bach to Rihm, a program director rich in ideas and an established artist whose second home is jazz.

Markus Becker's concert performances of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Gershwin set standards, and he has also created a fresh impression of composers such as Pfitzner, Hindemith, Draeseke, Jadassohn and the two concerts for left hand by Franz Schmidt.



Major Festivals – International Partners

At regular intervals, Becker performs at Kissinger Sommer, the Ruhr Piano Festival, the Schlesweig-Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Beethoven Festival in Bonn and the Ludwigsburg Castle Festival. He also performs at the Salzberg Easter Festival. His conductor partners include Claudio Abbado, Eiji Oue, Steven Sloane, Carlos Kalmar, Alun Francis, Howard Griffiths and Marcus R. Bosch.



In Focus: Musical Communication

Becker's main interest is chamber music. As an interpreter, professor and festival director he devotes a great deal of attention to this specific field. For him, the balance between artistic individuality and the collaborative approach to interpretative solutions, the merging or contrasting of distinctive worlds of sound and instrumental possibilities are at the core of the artistic endeavor.

His preferred chamber music partners include Albrecht Mayer, Sharon Kam, Tabea Zimmermann, Kolja Blacher, Alban Gerhardt, Gustav Rivinius, Adrian Brendel, Igor Levit, Stefan Dohr, Ludwig Quandt, Elisabeth Kufferath, Julius Berger, Nils Mönkemeyer, and Andrej Bielow.



Insights through Contrast

In his solo programs Markus Becker contrasts these rediscoveries with the major standard works of classical and romantic literature. Being a virtuoso jazz improviser, he is also an exception among classical pianists.



Recorded and Awarded

With his CD recordings Becker is the three-time winner of the "ECHO-Klassik" award as well as the German Critics Choice Award and the "Editor´s Choice" award in the British trade journal GRAMOPHONE. Becker's recording of Max Reger's complete piano works on 12 CDs (Thorofon) is already considered legendary. FonoForum's assessment of this major encyclopedic achievement: "One of those rare and truly major achievements of piano artistry in the past 50 years." These were followed by recordings for EMI, Decca, Thorofon and cpo of works by Brahms and Schumann, Bach's Goldberg Variations, Beethoven's sonatas for pianoforte, works by Jan Ladislav Dussek and George Antheils piano concerts.

Today, Markus Becker produces most of his recordings under the British label hyperion. Within a brief span of time, these have included the cello sonatas by Max Reger (with Alban Gerhardt), piano concerts by Draeseke, Jadassohn and Widor, chamber music by Erwin Schulhoff and, most recently, Reger's arrangements of Bach's organ works.



His Teachers and Teaching Practice

Markus Becker studied under the tutelage of Karl-Heinz Kämmerling and for many years benefited from the important suggestions and observations of Alfred Brendel.

Today, Markus Becker combines his own concert activity with his interest in passing on his artistic knowledge both on and off the concert stage:
Since 1993, he has been a professor at the Hanover Academy for Music, Theater and Media.

He supervises a class of pianists and chamber ensembles which have gained widespread attention with their repeated award-winning performances - at venues such as the German Music Competition, the Mendelssohn Competition, the European Chamber Music Competition in Karlsruhe or the Prix Amadeo Aachen.

Markus Becker is the Director of the Institute of Chamber Music and the spokesman of the master-level studies program in chamber music at the Hanover Academy for Music, Theater and Media.



Chamber Music Draws Audiences

In 2001, Markus Becker founded the Chamber Music Festival of the HNTMH: teachers, students and guests of the academy devote themselves to the chamber music works of one composer in a series of eight concerts during the summer semester. Within a short time, the encyclopedically conceived festival has grown into a magnet for audiences.



Markus Becker – short

For many years, among international concert pianists Markus Becker has convinced audiences and critics alike as a highly formative interpreter of piano literature from Bach to Rihm, a program director rich in ideas and an established artist. Being a virtuoso jazz improviser, he is also an exception among classical pianists. Becker's regularly performs at venues such as the Ruhr Piano Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Kissinger Sommer. Becker has played with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, RSB Berlin, the radio symphony orchestras of the NDR, WDR and SWR in Germany, and the BBC Welsh Orchestra under such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Howard Griffiths, Michael Sanderling, and Thierry Fisher.

The chamber music partners of Markus Becker include Albrecht Mayer, Nils Mönkemeyer, Adrian Brendel, Igor Levit, Sharon Kam and Alban Gerhardt. Markus Becker studied under the tutelage of Karl-Heinz Kämmerling and for many years benefited from the important suggestions and observations of Alfred Brendel. Since 1993, he has been a professor at the Hanover Academy for Music, Theater and Media.
Beckers CD recordings are the three-time recipients of the ECHO-Klassik award as well as the German Critics' Choice Award. Today, in addition to recordings for EMI, Decca, Thorofon and cpo Becker records mostly in the studios of the British label hyperion.

Becker's recording of Max Reger's complete piano works on 12 CDs (Thorofon) is already considered legendary. FonoForum's assessment of this major encyclopedic achievement: "One of those rare and truly major achievements of piano artistry in the past 50 years."



Markus Becker – long

For many years, among international concert pianists Markus Becker has convinced his audiences and critics alike as a highly formative interpreter of piano literature from Bach to Rihm, a program director rich in ideas and an established artist whose second home is jazz.

Markus Becker was born in 1963 into a musical family. As a three-year-old he was already attracted to keyboard instruments. He received his first piano lessons from Marton Keönch and, later, Heidi Köhler. Singing in the Hanover boys' choir, his first experience in forming a chamber music ensemble, playing in jazz and rock bands and composing stage music expanded his artistic horizon during his school years. After his first awards in various young people's competitions, in 1982, Markus Becker started his piano studies under Karl-Heinz Kämmerling in Hanover alongside master courses with Lew Vlasenko, Leon Fleisher and Fanny Waterman and supplemented by intensive study of chamber music. He received additional crucial guidance over many years from Alfred Brendel. He won various national and international awards, including the first prize at the International Brahms Competition in Hamburg in 1987.

Today, Markus Becker's concert performances of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Gershwin set standards, and he has also created a fresh impression of composers such as Pfitzner, Hindemith, Draeseke, Widor and the two concerts for left hand by Franz Schmidt. In his solo programs Markus Becker contrasts these rediscoveries with piano literature's major standard works. Being a virtuoso jazz improviser, he is also an exception among classical pianists.

At regular intervals Becker performs at the Ruhr Piano Festival, the Schlesweig-Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, Kissinger Sommer, the Beethoven Festival in Bonn and the Ludwigsburg Castle Festival.

Markus Becker has played with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, RSB Berlin, the radio symphony orchestras of the NDR, WDR and SWR in Germany, and the BBC Welsh Orchestra under such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Howard Griffiths, Michael Sanderling, Steven Sloane, and Marcus Bosch.
Becker's main interest is chamber music. As an interpreter, professor and festival manager he devotes a great deal of attention to this specific field. The focus of his artistic attention is the area where musical individuality and the collaborative search for interpretative solutions intersect. Among his partners are Albrecht Mayer, Nils Mönkemeyer, Adrian Brendel, Igor Levit, Sharon Kam, Alban Gerhardt, and Tabea Zimmermann.
Chamber music is also of central importance to Markus Becker's teaching:
Since 1993, he has been a professor at the Hanover Academy for Music, Theater and Media. He supervises a class of pianists and chamber ensembles which have gained widespread attention with their repeated award-winning performances. He is director of the Institute for Chamber Music and of his academy's annual Chamber Music Festival.
With his CD recordings Becker is the three-time winner of the "ECHO-Klassik" award as well as the German Critics Choice Award and the "Editor´s Choice" award in the British trade journal GRAMOPHONE. His recordings for EMI, Decca, cpo and Thorofon include works by Brahms, Schumann, Bach, Beethoven, Dussek and George Antheil. Today, Markus Becker produces most of his recordings under the British label hyperion. Within a brief span of time, these have included the cello sonatas by Max Reger (with Alban Gerhardt), piano concerts by Draeseke, Jadassohn and Widor, chamber music by Erwin Schulhoff and, most recently, Reger's arrangements of Bach's organ works. Becker's recording of Max Rege's complete piano works on 12 CDs (Thorofon) is already considered legendary. FonoForum's assessment of this major encyclopedic achievement: "One of those rare and truly major achievements of piano artistry in the past 50 years."