Stefan Mickisch - Biography

Oleg Maisenberg sees Stefan Mickisch as "a unique phenomenon of today's concert scene," and the Vienna Konzerthaus describes the German pianist, Wagner expert, and musical intermediary as follows: "Stefan Mickisch is not only an outstanding pianist and a gifted improviser, but also a knowledgeable commentator on any music which he explores, and he is also a capturing entertainer. His lecture recitals on the musical dramas of Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, and elsewhere, have long since become an institution." (Programme catalogue of the Vienna Konzerthaus, 2015).


Stefan Mickisch was born in the Bavarian Oberpfalz, where he qualified for his university entrance exams in his home town of Schwandorf. He received 10 first prizes in the "Jugend musiziert" competitions, as well as international piano awards in Athens, Madrid, Milan and Montevideo. His principal teachers were Erich Appel (Nuremberg), Karl-Heinz Kämmerling (Hannover), Leonid Brumberg (Vienna), and Sergiu Celibidache (Munich, Mainz). Concert tours have taken him to almost all European countries, as well as Canada, the USA, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Russia and Abu Dhabi.


Stefan Mickisch led the "Robert Schumann Society of Bavaria" for 8 years, he configured recitals with Kurt Moll, Robert Holl and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and inspired by artists' residencies in the United States during the mid-90s, he also created, and mastered, without competition, the genre of "moderated concerts," or "conversational concerts" ("lecture recitals"):  genres which were earlier cultivated by Glenn Gould and Leonard Bernstein.


From 1998 to 2013, he held 450 introductory matinees on all of the musical dramas by Richard Wagner at the Bayreuth Festival, as well as being a guest at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, the Festspiele Baden-Baden, the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Richard Strauss Festival in Bolzano, and in Garmisch - Partenkirchen, the Gidon Kremer Chamber Music Festival in Lockenhaus, the Wagner Festival of Wels, as well as the opera houses of Cologne, Bremen, Graz, and Zurich, amongst others. He is also a known guest at the Gasteig and Prinzregententheater in Munich, the Vienna State Opera and Volksoper, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Vienna Musikverein, and the music Festival of Grafenegg.


Currently, Stefan Mickisch has released 59 CDs on his own label, Fafnerphon, including the 9 CD box: "All 261 Leitmotifs," the world's most comprehensive and detailed musical examination of the Nibelung's Ring, by Richard Wagner.


Mickisch remains a spiritually, philosophically, and historically interested artist, and despite his intensive study of Richard Wagner's complete works, he has never lost sight of the works of other great composers. Particularly well represented in his fields of interpretation are Richard Strauss and Ludwig van Beethoven, and more recently, Franz Schreker, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who, because of the quality of their works, and considering their abruptly aborted careers due to the "Third Reich," will surely be an interesting concern for the future.


Stefan Mickisch’s elucidations on the grand piano have been broadcasted repeatedly by BBC, Arte, ORF, SF, ZDF, 3sat, ServusTV, BR - alpha and other TV stations during the Wagner Bicentennial of 2013, and during the Richard Strauss 150th Anniversary of 2014. In July of 2015.


Mickisch`s television recordings about R. Wagner´s "The Ring" comprising 6 DVDs (approx. 9 hours playing time, directed by Eric Schulz) were released in Dec. 2015 and are highly acclaimed in the musical world.


The ´enormous charisma of the artist Stefan Mickisch` ( Matthias Naske)  provides full houses for the promoters and continuous concert cycles for the pianist up to the year 2020 .


In 2016 CDs are planned on E.W. Korngold ´s  `Tote Stadt` ( `The Dead City´); Franz Schreker`s `Fernem Klang`; A. Dvorak`s `Rusalka` and R. Strauss´s ` Also sprach Zarathustra´.