• Born 1961
Often appears with
Lyric tenor Markus Schäfer is especially identified with Baroque music but also sings lieder and 19th century vocal repertory as far forward in time as Mahler. He is also a noted educator.
Schäfer was born on June 13, 1961, in Andernach in western Germany, and grew up in nearby Bad Ems. His father was a church musician. Schäfer at first aimed toward a church career himself, studying that field in the cities of Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf, but voice lessons with Armand McLane steered him toward singing, as did a stint at the International Opera Studio in Zürich, Switzerland. Schäfer sang in opera productions there and then joined the cast of the Zürich Opera. He moved on to the Hamburg Staatsoper and then the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. He also built a career as a lieder singer, often appearing at summer festivals, but also as far afield as Lincoln Center in New York and Wigmore Hall in London. As Schäfer's career developed, he gravitated toward early music. He sang both concert works and opera with the early music group La Petite Band under director Sigiswald Kuijken, and he appeared in 2014 in a 300th-anniversary performance of C.P.E. Bach's oratorio Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu with the orchestra Das kleine Konzert and the Rheinische Kantorei choir. He has often sung solos with the Windsbacher Knabenchor boychoir and is a member of the male vocal quartet Liedertafel.
Schäfer has been heard as a soloist on several acclaimed recordings, including conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt's Grammy Award-winning 1994 reading of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244. As a solo artist, he has a varied catalog of recordings on such labels as Naxos, Wergo, and Avi-Music, where he recorded an album of Schubert songs called Schwanengesänge in 2019. In 2020, he appeared on a Naxos recording of Johann Simon Mayr's rare opera Le due duchesse. Schäfer is a professor of voice at the Musikhochschule Hannover.