BiographyFor many years, Markus Becker has impressed in international concert life as a powerful performer of piano literature from Bach to Rihm, as an imaginative program designer and distinguished artist who has his second home in jazz. Markus Becker is born 1963 into a musical household. Even as a three-year-old he likes to spend time on keyboard instruments. He initially teaches piano with Marton Keönch, later with Heidi Köhler. The singing in the Boys' Choir Hannover, the founding of the first chamber music ensembles, the participation in jazz and rock bands and the composition of stage music complete the artistic horizon of his schooldays. After first prizes in various youth competitions, Markus Becker 1982 began piano studies with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling in Hanover, flanked by masterclasses with Lew Vlasenko, Leon Fleisher and Fanny Waterman and supplemented by intensive study of chamber music. He receives further important suggestions over many years through Alfred Brendel. He wins various national and international awards, including the 1. Prize at the International Brahms Competition Hamburg 1987.
Markus Becker sets standards today with the concerts of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Gershwin, but also with rediscoveries such as Pfitzner, Hindemith, Draeseke, Widor or the two concerts for the left hand of Franz Schmidt. In his solo programs Markus Becker contrasts rediscoveries with the great standard works of piano literature. As a virtuoso jazz improviser he is an exception among classical pianists.
Becker regularly performs at the Ruhr Piano Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Kissinger Summer, Beethovenfest Bonn or the Ludwigsburg Castle Festival. Markus Becker performs with orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the RSB Berlin, the radio orchestras of the NDR, WDR and SWR, the BBC Welsh Orchestra under conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Howard Griffiths, Michael Sanderling, Steven Sloane and Marcus Bosch. Becker's central concern is chamber music. As a performer, professor and festival director, he devotes himself to this field with particular dedication. The borderline of musical individuality and a common search for interpretative solutions forms the core of his artistic work. His partners include Albrecht Mayer, Nils Mönkemeyer, Adrian Brendel, Igor Levit, Sharon Kam, Alban Gerhardt and Tabea Zimmermann.
Chamber music is also the focus of Markus Becker's teaching activities. Since 1993, he has been a professor at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. Here he leads a class of pianists and chamber music ensembles, who repeatedly draw attention to themselves through competitive success. He is director of the Chamber Music Institute and director of the annual chamber music festival at his college. For his CD recordings, Becker receives three times the 'ECHO Klassik' as well as the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the 'Editor's choice' in the British magazine GRAMOPHONE. Recordings are released by EMI, Decca, cpo and Thorofon with works by Brahms, Schumann, Bach, Beethoven, Dussek and George Antheil. Today, Markus Becker mainly produces his recordings at the English label hyperion. The cello sonatas by Max Reger (with Alban Gerhardt), piano concertos by Draeseke, Jadassohn and Widor, chamber music by Erwin Schulhoff and most recently Reger's arrangements of Bach's organ works have been published here in short succession. Becker's complete recording of Max Reger's piano works on 12 CDs is already legendary today (Thorofon). The FonoForum judges about this encyclopedic exploit: "One of the rare truly great achievements of German pianistics of the last fifty years".