Jury Member, Piano Section
Pianist Michael Schäfer enjoys wide renown as one of the most versatile soloists, chamber music partners and song accompanists. He has long been a welcome guest artist on the concert podium in Europe, Asia and Africa. He has been Professor for Piano at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich since the age of 31.
Many of his students have gone on to win prizes at international music competitions (including the ARD, Geza Anda, Busoni, Schubert and Isang Yun Competitions) as well as to pursue careers on the concert stage, as song accompanists and teachers at universities throughout the world.
He also serves as juror at international music competitions and gives masterclasses in Europe, China, Korea and Japan.
In his CD publications Michael Schäfer places strong emphasis on the works of unjustly neglected composers. In the meantime, these recordings have earned numerous prizes and accolades, among them the “classique-info ring” for his recording of the complete works for piano by Vincent d’Indy, the “diapason 5” for his recording of piano pieces by Ignaz Friedman, the “diapason d’or” for his recording of the 72 Études karnatiques by Jacques Charpentier and also another diapason and Deutscher Schallplattenpreis (shortlist) for the volume I of Sabaneev’s piano works. Further recordings have met with wide critical acclaim, including CDs of works by Korngold, Godovsky, Respighi, Cyril Scott, Sylvio Lazzari, Volkmar Andreae, Grigorij Krein, Samuil Feinberg, Claude Delvincourt and Florent Schmitt.
His many years of collaboration with baritone Dietrich Henschel have also resulted in an awardwinning CD featuring songs and several solo works for pianno by Ludwig van Beethoven.
Together with Ilona Then-Bergh (violin) and Wen-Sinn Yang (cello), in recent years Schäfer has devoted himself to the piano trio. The CD “à la memoire d’un grand artiste” (piano trios by Tchaikovsky op. 50, Rachmaninov op. 9 and Goldenweiser op. 31) received worldwide enthusiastic reviews.
In May 2018 the volume II of the world premiere recording of the complete works for piano by Russian composer Leonid Sabaneev appears on the occasion of his 50th deathday, followed by a CD of Sabaneev’s violin music, including the unfinished violin sonata, edited and completed by Michael Schäfer himself.
In 2019/20 the Piano Trio Schäfer/Then-Bergh/Yang will present its new concert – and CD – series: “L’invitation du voyage – explorations in chamber music”.