The German pianist, Matthias Kirschnereit, grew up in the Namibian desert and began studying piano at the Detmold Music Academy with Professor Renate Kretschmar-Fischer. Many years of cooperation with Claudio Arrau, Bruno-Leonardo Gelber, Murray Perahia, Oleg Maisenberg and Sandor Végh left an indelible artistic impression on him.
His great successes at the German Music Competition in Bonn, the International Concours Géza Anda in Zürich and the Australian International Piano Competition in Sydney marked the beginning of his international concert career, which has since then taken him to all five continents. Matthias Kirschnereit is currently one of the most interesting and sought-after German pianists of his generation. He has appeared as a soloist with such renowned orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, Bamberger Symphoniker, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart (SWR) and Radio-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig (MDR), Sinfonia Varsovia, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra (Budapest), Zürcher Kammerorchester and Kölner Kammerorchester as well as the Festival Strings Lucerne.
One of the most celebrated high points of 2003 was Matthias Kirschnereit’s performance of Sergei Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov for the 300th anniversary of the city of St. Petersburg. But his intensive collaboration with Sandor Végh and the Camerata Academica Salzburg have been of major significance for his understanding of Mozart as well. During recent months, work with such conductors as Anthony Bramall, Matthias Foremny, Howard Griffiths, Leonid Grin, Hartmut Haenchen, Norichika Iimori, Daniel Klajner, Hannu Koivula and Eiji Oue have provided important stimulation.
Matthias Kirschnereit is a regular guest at the Piano Festival Ruhr, the Berlin Festwochen, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Schubertiade Feldkirch and the Gilmore Festival in Michigan/USA. He has a deep affinity for chamber music, which has resulted in musical partnerships with Ulrike-Anima Mathé, Christian Tetzlaff and the Artemis Quartet. He recently founded the Trio Mirabeau with Nicola Jürgensen (clarinet) and Volker Jacobsen (viola), which had its successful debut at the 2004 Dresden Festival.
The pianist's successful cooperation with Arte Nova/BMG is documented by his recording of W.A. Mozart’s complete piano concertos with the Bamberger Symphoniker under Frank Beermann. This cycle, begun in 1999, immediately received the highest praise from the press; the Süddeutsche Zeitung called Kirschnereit a “high-ranking Mozart interpreter”. A CD with piano works by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (2000) was described by Fono Forum as “one of the most beautiful Mendelssohn recordings ever”, and the recording of early piano compositions by Johannes Brahms (2002) was judged by Rondo Magazine as “almost frighteningly flawless, highly inspired and refreshingly unpretentious - pure passion and devotion!” The Neue Zürcher Zeitung praised his newest recording of Robert Schumann's Fantasie Op. 17 and Bunte Blätter Op. 99 (2004), noting Kirschnereit’s “notable technical assuredness” and “great transparency”.
Since 1997, Matthias Kirschnereit has been a professor at the newly founded Academy of Music and Theater in Rostock. In 1998 he became the artistic director of the Landow Chamber Music Festival on the Island of Rügen.
He lives in Hamburg and devotes his spare time to painting, architecture, Italian food and soccer.