Markus Schimpp

Composer, pianist, entertainer, cabaret singer, moderator




Cabaret pianist, singer, moderator and composer Markus Schimpp, born 1964 in Augsburg, works in a number of genres and is driven by an inner necessity to give the fullest attention to the musical concept and artistic idea of the present moment. In both his cabaret shows and classical concert music, moving or touching the audience is always Schimpp’s central concern. His musical education at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg – a time dedicated to many chamber music and orchestral performances – formed the foundation for a rather atypical musical career. After his examinations in piano and oboe performance, he began to work as a cabaret performer and moderator for varieté productions in 1993. Schimpp started composing in 2000, first by writing chansons, then increasingly music for the stage, music for choreography and scores for short films. “Yearning for Silence” is his first solo album with his own compositions. Markus Schimpp lives in Bonn.



What does music mean to you personally?

Schimpp: Music is an existential part of my life. Since my childhood, music has been very important to me. At that time I couldn't explain what feelings classical music triggered in me, I just knew that I had to pursue this feeling. I am still on this fascinating journey.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Schimpp: I'm just wondering if it's just my own fantasy that makes me write music. We are certainly also determined by our upbringing, the history of our ancestors. The tradition of our society, or the listening habits of the audience. All this certainly has a not inconsiderable influence on composing.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been? Schimpp: My second private passion is baking cakes. Luckily I have that under control, so mostly.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

Schimpp: If I remember correctly, when I was a student, the classical audience was rather older. Nowadays, when I talk to younger people about classical music and introduce them to new works, there is great interest and curiosity. Perhaps there is a lack of the right mediation these days. I'm sure there will always be an audience for good, sensitive, emotional music. Perhaps we should actually consider new concert formats and an interesting expansion of the repertoire.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Schimpp: Unfortunately, I'm aware of an unfortunate development in music at the moment. Through the streaming, the music loses its value. It acts like a fast consumable that you can turn on and off at will. I think the live concert experience will become more important again and should be something very special again. The choice of location, the staging and the interesting concert program can hopefully lead a modern audience to a new positive and sensual listening.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Schimpp: A modern musician should simply be just as creative as the great role models showed us. Whether they were composers or legendary performers, they all shared the same passion for music. I myself went in search of my inner sound. This longing is certainly different for everyone and cannot be transferred. I try to create simplicity and authenticity for myself.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

Schimpp: As already described, I see the key in the concert programs. Neither should the listener be overwhelmed, nor should we get too conventional. But there is certainly also a tonal path between modern soft classical and highly complex contemporary music. We should also reconsider the rituals of conservative concerts. The concert hall is not a church, there would certainly be room for other formats such as cross-art events. Also, maybe we should reconsider the times as well. Does a concert have to last 2 hours? Do we need more or less breaks? Can such an evening perhaps become a social event again?

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

Schimpp: After writing two piano cycles with more contemplative structures, I tried a different approach last summer. I remembered some amusing poems by Christian Morgenstern and decided to be inspired by them and thus to make my inspiration visible to the listener. This resulted in 30 small piano pieces that I am currently bringing live to the stage. Including a recitation of the respective poems. The choice of poems resulted in a wonderful mixture of scherzo to melancholy in my compositions. They always arose spontaneously after reading the poem. I wasn't interested in a musical retelling or a melodrama. The only important thing was to create a feeling out of the text. At the moment I really enjoy playing these pieces.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Schimpp: When I think back to my musical beginnings, it occurs to me that I gradually discovered the classical composers. I had little opportunity to discover a comprehensive collection and so I listened to individual pieces over and over again until I could venture on to something new again. So I internalized the individual styles and these then built on each other. My listening was intuitive and curious. At some point, around the age of 11, I got to Ravel, Stavinsky and Bartok and was totally fascinated by their style. That was my way into music, but everyone has to find their own approach. It is never too late for that, young or old.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

Schimp: I have to admit that I actually have my audience in mind when I write. But I don't find anything objectionable about it either. I'm also my own very critical listener. For me, questions like: Is everything understandable? Haven't I overloaded anything? Am I imitating anything? Is that too clumsy? Does it touch me? Just to name a few here. I want to create a touching listening impression, which I would also expect as my own listener in a concert. So when I write, I sit on both sides, with the instrumentalist and with the audience.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

Schimpp: On July 2nd, 2023 I will premiere my new concert and recitation program "Morgenstern" in Cologne. From autumn I will devote myself to composing again. For the time being, however, the stage calls.