Markus Schäfer studied singing and church music in Karlsruhe and in Düsseldorf. His first contracts were received from the Zürich Opernhaus (1985-86) and from the Rheinoper Düsseldorf (1987-93). Meanwhile he appeared amongst others at the Salzburg Festival and Rossini Festival (Pesaro), ll Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Liceu (Barcelona), the Lyon Opera House, the Bavarian State Opera (München), the Semperoper (Dresden) and at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin).
His repertoire focuses on Mozart’s great tenor rôles and Baroque operas by Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Handel, Hasse and more. In concert, he successfully performs works by Mozart and Haydn and Bach. Since his outstanding performance of the “Matthew Passion” under Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Wiener Musikverein (its TELDEC recording was awarded a Grammy) Markus Schäfer belongs to the most demanded Evangelists worldwide, being equally invited by baroque and modern orchestras.
As a renowned Lieder interpreter, he performs repeatedly at Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, the Hugo-Wolf-Gesellschaft in Stuttgart, Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center New-York, accompanied by pianists such as Hartmut Höll, Andras Schiff, Tobias Koch or Ulrich Eisenlohr.
He appeared as Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Oronte (Alcina) at the Norvegian Bergen Festival ; sang Andres (Wozzek) at the Komische Oper Berlin, Monsieur Vogelsang (Schauspieldirektor) at the Musikverein, Orlando Paladino at Theater an der Wien and as Prince Saphir (Barbe-Bleue/Offenbach), at Styriarte the last two under Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Markus Schäfer has sung under the baton of Frans Brüggen (with the Orchestra of the 18th Century), Reinhard Göbel, Pierre Cao (with Arsys Bourgogne), Charles Mackerras (with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra), Sigiswald Kuijken (with La petite bande), Jérémie Rhorer, Laurence Equilbey (with Choeur Accentus), Jos Van Immerseel (with Anima Eterna), Leo Hussain, Kwame Ryan, Vladimir Jurowski, Jun Märkl, Howard Arman ... He appeared with Concerto Köln, MDR Radio Orchestra, Gewandhaus Leipzig, the "Rheinischen Kantorei", Brussels Philharmonic, the Belgian national Orchestra, RSB Berlin, Residentie Orchestra The Hague, Poznan Philharmonic to name just a few.
His engagements 2015/16 include a.o. performances of Beethoven 9 in Mexicowith Anima Eterna under Jos Van Immerseel, a larger tour with Bach's Matthew Passion with Noord-Nederlands Orkest under Michael Hofstetter, X-Mass-Oratorium with Deutsche Kammervirtuosen Berlin and Windsbacher Kinderchor ; appearances at "Toujours Mozart Festival" in Israel and Germany and many recitals throughout the season.
Discography : Markus Schäfer's achievement is huge. Next to a large series of radio recordings, roughly 40 CD recordings and DVDs reflect his tribute to opera, concert, oratorio and Lied. Including a recording with Gustav Leonhardt some of Bach's profane cantatas.
The release of Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Kölner Kammerorchester (conducted by Helmut Müller-Brühl) on NAXOS got lavish praise. For the same label, Schäfer recorded Bach’s solo Cantatas, the “Matthew-Passion” and Wolfgang Rihm’s “Mörike-Zyklus” (dedicated to Markus Schäfer). Other recordings featuring songs by Siegfried Karg-Elert (with pianist Ernst Breidenbach), Johann Hovens Heine song cyle “Die Heimkehr” (on 3 CDs) and Schubert’s settings of Schlegel’s “Die Abendröte” (both with pianist Christian de Bruyn) show Markus Schäfer’s in non-mainstream programs. Other recording highlights include “Cosi fan tutte”/Mozart conducted by Sigiswald Kuijken, “Il Re Pastore”/Mozart and “Armida”/Haydn with N. Harnoncourt, the "X-Mas Oratorium"/J.S.Bach with the Winsbacher Knabenchor, the „The Messiah “ by Romberg (after Klopstock) together with Hermann Max and his "Rheinischen Kantorei" (a CD produced by WDR/DLF) and Beethoven 9 with Anima Eterna/Jos Van Immerseel (ZigZag label).