Peter Schmalfuss is one of those ubiquitous and highly gifted artists who turns up on a variety of recordings for smaller labels, often featuring mixed repertory played by several different pianists. Yet Schmalfuss has established a successful career of his own, both on the world's concert stages and in the recording studio, playing a fairly wide range of repertory, but garnering accolades particularly for his performances of works by Beethoven and Chopin.
Born in Berlin in 1937, Peter Schmalfuss exhibited musical talent early on and by his teens had become an accomplished pianist. In the coming years he would develop an impressive résumé with respect to his roster of teachers — Walter Gieseking, Wilhelm Kempff, and Adrian Aeschbacher — without doubt, masters who must be counted among the finest pianists from the first half of the twentieth century. Schmalfuss launched his international career, touring the major (and some minor) cities in Europe, as well as many in Asia and North Africa. He is one of a select number of pianists who have performed the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas in recital over several evenings.
Because of his strong interest in the music of Chopin, Schmalfuss joined the Warsaw-based Chopin Society and has given many concerts featuring Chopin's works. At the invitation of the Society he has traveled to Zelazowa Wola, Poland, to play at the house of Chopin's birth. Schmalfuss began recording in the 1960s, but it was not until the 1980s that his recordings gained both wider distribution and sufficient public notice to make him an internationally known artist. While most of his recordings have been released on various smaller European labels, some were issued in the United States and elsewhere in the West. Schmalfuss has also been active as a teacher of piano, serving on the faculty at the Darmstadt Academy of Musical Arts for 24 years. His recordings are widely available on Madacy Records, Brilliant Classics, and other labels.