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.” Soon he was to take most of the prominent concert halls and festivals by storm:
Wiener Musikverein, Suntory Hall/Tokyo, Wigmore Hall/London, Gewandhaus/Leipzig, Philharmonie/Berlin, Bozar/Brussels, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, the international piano festivals “La Roque d´Antheron“ and Ruhr, Kissinger Sommer, Schubertiade, styriarte, Bregenz Festival, Stars of White Nights Festival St.Petersburg and many more.
He has worked with renowned orchestras: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London, Tokyo Symphony, Mariinsky Orchestra St.Petersburg, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, English Chamber Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Michael Gielen, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Axelrod, James Judd, Paul Goodwin, Fabio Luisi and Philippe Jordan among 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. Markus Schirmer also has great pleasure in working with actors, combining literature and music:
with 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. All further strongly acclaimed recordings including works by Haydn, Beethoven, Ravel, Mussorgsky and “THE MOZART SESSIONS” together with the uplifting US chamber orchestra A FAR CRY have won several international prizes.
In the upcoming season he will be performing at many festivals and concert series in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Emirates, South Africa, China and Austria.
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 the artistic director of the annual international music festival ARSONORE, which every September engages top chamber musicians to perform in the Hall of Planets at Eggenberg Castle (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage) in Graz.