Andreas Staier

Andreas Staier

Piano • Harpsichord • Fortepiano

• Born 1955

Biography

Andreas Staier is one of the foremost authentic-instrument keyboard players in the classical music world. He has performed with many of the world's top historical instrument ensembles and performers and has toured and recorded extensively.

Staier was born on September 13, 1955, in Göttingen, Germany. His early training was on the modern piano. Courses in realizing continuo parts in Baroque music at the Hanover Conservatory led him to study harpsichord, which requires a considerably different technique of touch. This study drew him into a repertory not frequently played on piano, going back to the English composers for the virginal. He continued studies in Amsterdam, where his primary teachers in harpsichord and early music were Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Ton Koopman. His interest in the fortepiano began when he discovered the difference in sound and interpretation that results when that instrument is used for playing composers contemporary with it, especially Mozart and Beethoven.

In 1983, Staier joined Musica Antiqua Köln as its harpsichord player, then resigned from the ensemble in 1986 to embark on his solo career on both harpsichord and fortepiano. He also began teaching at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, where he was on the faculty from 1987 to 1996. His recital programs and recordings include the standard Baroque composers, but also earlier music and Spanish keyboard works. He looks for important links among compositions of various eras. For instance, Staier thinks Beethoven's Diabelli Variations are heard in a different light if one knows Bach's Goldberg Variations. He waited nearly a quarter of a century to play the Goldberg in public; his long-awaited first performance of it was in Montréal at the end of April 2000. Staier has performed in major festivals and most of the major concert halls of the world. He has toured throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and South America.

Staier frequently works with other renowned artists, including Anner Bylsma, Tatiana Grindenko, René Jacobs, and various important early music ensembles. One of his closest partnerships is with tenor Christoph Prégardien, who sings with him in the early Romantic repertory. Their recording of Schubert's Winterreise on Teldec won six major international recording prizes. In 2007, Staier won the prestigious Diapason d'Or award for his album Mozart am Stein vis-à-vis, played not on a harpsichord nor a fortepiano but on an instrument called a vis-à-vis that is a hybrid of the two. Recording for Harmonia Mundi, Staier maintained a vigorous schedule in the 2010s and into the 2020s. In 2015, he released a group of Brahms clarinet sonatas with Lorenzo Coppola, bringing his historical practice into the late 19th century: he used an 1875 Steinway piano that Brahms was known to have liked. He also continued to make acclaimed harpsichord recordings, including a 2015 set of Bach harpsichord concertos in which he was teamed with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. In 2016 and 2017, Staier released ensemble recordings devoted to Schubert on the fortepiano, and in 2020, he issued an album of Beethoven works titled Ein neuer Weg.

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