The German pianist, Ragna Schirmer, studied from 1991 at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover in the class of Professor Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, and from 1993 with Professor Bernard Ringeissen in Paris. In 1995 she graduated with top marks, and in 1999 she completed her education with a solo concert exam. She attended numerous master-classes, among others with Professor Tatiana Nikolayeva and Professor Andrej Jasinski. She proved her prowess at competitions whilst still in her teens and was invited to take part in the major music festivals. She has been awarded a total of 15 first prizes, becoming the only person to win the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig twice. She reached the finals of the Busoni Competition at the age of 15 and attracted particular attention by winning special prizes at the UNISA Competition in Pretoria, South Africa.
Ragna Schirmer is regarded as one of the most promising artists of the young generation. Her repertoire is comprehensive, extending from J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) to the music of today. “It is difficult to think of anyone else with a comparable ability, a comparable personality. Ragna Schirmer has a lot to say.” Berlin Philharmonic Magazine. Her astounding technique enables Ragna Schirmer to impart a very individual sound to her interpretations, which benefit as much from the power of her attack as by her courage in leaving things unsaid.
Ragna Schirmer has performed with the Münchner Philharmoniker under Zubin Mehta, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln under Andrey Boreyko, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Herbert Blomstedt, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and many other orchestras. Chamber music is also very important to her. She regularly plays with the cellist Michael Sanderling and with the Gewandhaus Quartet.
Her CD's have received numerous awards and excellent reviews throughout Europe (Diapason, Le Monde de la Musique, Gramophone). She received the Echo Klassik Prize for her Haydn album, while Stereoplay magazine placed the “Etude Fantasy” in the “audiophile” category and named it CD of the year.
In the winter semester of 2001-2002 (at age 28) Ragna Schirmer was appointed Professor for piano at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Mannheim.