The German pianist and harpsichordist, Andreas Staier, studied modern piano and harpsichord in the Hochschule für Musik in Hannover, with Kurt Bauer and Erika Haase for piano and from Lajos Rovátkay for harpsichord. He had been familiar with the J.S. Bach keyboard repertory, because so much of that is played on piano, or transcribed for it. However, study of harpsichord drew him into a repertory not frequently played on piano, going back to the English composers for the small keyboard instrument called the virginal. He continued his harpsichord and early music studies in Amsterdam with Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Ton Koopman. His interest in the fortepiano began gradually when he discovered the difference in sound and interpretation that results when that instrument is used for playing composers contemporary with it, especially Mozart and Beethoven. He added fortepiano to his studies, becoming one of the rare classical keyboard players who specializes in harpsichord and fortepiano.
In 1983 Andreas Staier joined Musica Antiqua Köln, a leading small Baroque ensemble, as its harpsichord player. This involved frequent touring to all parts of the world. At the same time he continued his intense studies in the interpretation of classical and post-classical music on the historical fortepiano. He resigned from the ensemble in 1986 to embark on his solo career on both harpsichord and fortepiano. As of 1986 he has been an itinerant fortepiano soloist, an accompanist for Lieder and piano soloist for the ensemble Les Adieux. He also began teaching harpsichord at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, where he was on the faculty from 1987 to 1996.
Andreas Staier has since gained an outstanding reputation as a harpsichordist and fortepiano soloist, as well as chamber music partner. Today his repertoire includes the music of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. He studies the keyboard repertory deeply. His recital programs and recordings include the standard Baroque composers, but also earlier music and Spanish keyboard works. His repertory extends from the English Baroque through the entire Classical period and into the Romantic era, where he plays the piano music of such composers as F. Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, on harpsichords or pianos appropriate to the times of the music. He looks for important links among compositions of various eras. For instance, he thinks that Beethoven's Diabelli Variations are heard in a different light if one knows Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) which, he says, are similarly illuminated by knowledge of Byrd's variations. He waited nearly a quarter of a century to play Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) in public. His long-awaited first performance of it was in Montréal at the end of April 2000. He also plays a few 20th century harpsichord pieces and is working on one 21st century work. It by Bryce Pauzé, a young French composer, and was especially written for the sound of the fortepiano with modern approaches to rhythm and tone color.
Andreas Staier has had many musical partnerships with internationally renowned artists, including Anner Bijlsma, Fabio Biondi, Tatiana Grindenko, René Jacobs, Alexej Lubimov, etc. One of his closest partnerships is with the tenor Christoph Prégardien, who sings with him in the early Romantic and earlier repertory. He has also co-operated with renowned ensembles and orchestras, such as Freiburger Barockorchester, Concerto Köln, Orchestre des Champs-Elysées Paris, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, etc. These partnerships exemplify his extraordinary musical talents and out-standing accomplishments as an artist.
Andreas Staier is regularly invited to perform at leading national and international music festivals - Festival de La Roque d'Antéron, Festival de Saintes (France), Styriarte Graz (Austria), Festival de Montreux (Switzerland), Schleswig-Holstein-Musikfestival, Beethoven-Fest Bonn, Bach-Fest Leipzig, Bach-Tage Berlin, Kissinger Sommer (all Germany) etc. - and in most of the prestigious concert halls all over the world (Konzerthaus Wien, Schauspielhaus and Philharmonie Berlin, Kölner Philharmonie, Louvre Paris, Wigmore Hall etc.). His concert tours took him to almost every European country, to North and South America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
For many of his recordings (for both BMG and Teldec) Andreas Staier has been awarded with international disc prizes. Since 1995 he is an exclusive artist of Teldec Classics. His recordings for Teldec include piano concertos by Mozart, Salieri, F. Mendelssohn and John Field (with Concerto Köln), solo works by Schubert and Scarlatti and J.S. Bach (transcriptions), Schubert's Winterreise (album which won six major international recording prizes) and songs by Beethoven and Franz Lachner with tenor Christoph Prégardien, and works for four hands by Schubert (with Alexej Lubimov). In 2000 there have been published solo works of Muzio Clementi and Brahms: Die Schöne Magelone with tenor Christoph Prégardien and Vanessa Redgrave as narrator. The year 2001 has seen the release of his new recording of "Schubert songs after poems of Johan Mayrhofer" also with Christoph Prégardien. His latest CD has been released in January 2002: "John come kiss me now! - William Byrd, Virginal Music. His recording of spanish harpsichord music "Variaciones del Fandango Espanol" has been awarded in 2000 with the "Cannes Classical Award of the Year". His unusual artistic career was awarded in 2002 with the Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.