Born in Reiden in 1949, Swiss pianist and Composer Marianne Schroeder is one of the leading performers of new music today and a renowned expert on Scelsi. She is a member of composer collective Groupe Lacroix and has released over thirty audio recordings.
Schroeder grew up with her two brothers on her parents’ farm in the Swiss village of Reiden, receiving her first piano lessons at the age of seven. Eventually, she dropped out of school in order to pursue her piano studies under Klaus Linder at the City of Basel Music Academy and later under Eliza Hansen at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Hamburg. She also received lessons in composition from Hans Wüthrich and attended composition master classes with Mauricio Kagel and Klaus Huber as well as Earle Brown, Dieter Schnebel and Vinko Globokar. After attaining her piano diploma, she pursued additional studies under Giacinto Scelsi in Rome. Moreover, she collaborated with John Cage for many years, including work during various Cage festivals in Europe.
As a soloist and chamber musician she has performed at pro musica nova in Bremen, the Lucerne Festival, the ISCM World Music Days in Athens, the Donaueschingen Festival, Berliner Festspiele, Wien Modern, Zagreb Summer of Music and the Witten Days for New Chamber Music. She has performed under conductors such as Paul Sacher, Francis Travis, Erich Schmid and Luciano Berio and has premiered works by Pauline Oliveros, Walter Zimmermann, Morton Feldman, John Cage, Dieter Schnebel, William Duckworth, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Erhard Grosskopf and Maurizio Pisati at major venues across Europe (including the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris) the Soviet Union and the United States (including Carnegie Hall and Roulette in New York and the Arnold Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles). Musicians she has worked with include Chris Newman, Anthony Braxton, Frances-Marie Uitti, Rohan de Saram, Robyn Schulkowsky, Abbie Conant and Paul Zukovsky. She has made more than thirty recordings, including premieres of pieces by Stockhausen, Braxton, Feldman and Scelsi, and released the complete piano sonatas of Galina Ustvolskaya on HatHut Records.
In 1986 and 1988, she lectured at the International Summer Course for New Music, Darmstadt and in 1987 and 1988 taught piano at the Frühjahrstagung für Neue Musik und Musikerziehung in Darmstadt. In 1988, she was Artist in Residence at Brunel University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She has taught at the Musikakademie in Basel and has been a member of the composer collective Groupe Lacroix since 1994. She is currently working as an improviser and is the founder and manager of Probebühne für Hören und Sehen, as well as Scelsi Festival in Basel. She and her husband, the author Jürg Läderach, whom she married in 2001, divide their time between Basel und Soglio in South-Eastern Switzerland.
Marianne Schroeder is a classically trained pianist who, through the repertoire of Anton Webern, found her way into contemporary music, giving her last concert of Beethoven in 1983. Thereafter, John Cage, Giacinto Scelsi and Morton Feldman became her primary musical mentors. She began to improvise freely on her concert grand and adapted John Cage’s technique of the prepared piano. Musicologist Peter Niklas noted that “her penchant for the American avant-garde and her empathy for a new music that does not fetishise brilliance and hyper-complexity, but allows space for sound to develop, is unmistakeable.”
- Masefield study prize from the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F. V. S. (for young up and coming musicians at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Hamburg)
- Scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
- Nach oben. In: MusikTexte26 (1988), S. 27–28.
- Ein deutscher Cage?In: Werner Grünzweig (Hrsg.): Schnebel 60. Wolke, Hofheim 1990, ISBN 3-923997-36-1, S. 65–67.
- Sterndeuter. In: MusikTexte46/47 (1992), S. 117.
- Die Etudes Australes von John Cage. In: Positionen17/1993, 13–15.
- Peter Niklas Wilson: Feldman vor dem Frühstück, Scelsi zur Nacht. Die Basler Avantgarde-Pianistin Marianne Schroeder. In: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik12/1990, S. 24–26.
- Hanno Ehrler: Mystische Erfahrungen. Portrait der Pianistin Marianne Schroeder. Deutschlandfunk, 15. November 1995. (Digitalisiert; PDF; 36 kB)
- Hanno Ehrler: Da geschah es… Die Schweizer Pianistin und Komponistin Marianne Schroeder.Bayern 2, 16. August 1996. (Digitalisiert; PDF; 44 kB)
- Works by and about Marianne Schroeder in the Catalogue of the German National Library