Sebastian Knauer was born in 1971 in Hamburg, Germany, and began playing the piano at the age of four. His teachers included Gernot Kahl, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Philippe Entremont, Andràs Schiff, Christoph Eschenbach and Alexis Weissenberg.
A prize-winner at numerous competitions, he gave his concerto debut at the age of 13, performing Haydn’s D-Major Piano Concerto in the Hamburg Musikhalle. Shortly afterwards followed his international debut as part of the “European Concert” series for RAI in Venice. Subsequent tours have taken him all over Europe, the USA, South America and Asia. He has performed in major concert halls such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Berlin, Cologne and Munich Philharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna Musikvereinssaal and Konzerthaus, Barbican and Wigmore Hall London, Opéra Comique and Théatre Champs Elysées Paris, KKL Luzern, Tonhalle Zurich, Auditori Barcelona, Sala Verdi Milan, La Fenice Venice, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum of Arts New York, Herbst Theatre San Francisco, Kravis Center Palm Beach, Téatro Municipal in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Toppan Hall Tokyo, Oriental Concert Hall Shanghai, Performing Arts Center Hong Kong and Forbidden Concert Hall Beijing.
The conductors with whom Sebastian Knauer has worked include Gerd Albrecht, Vladimir Fedosseyew, Fabio Luisi, Neeme Järvi, Sir Roger Norrington, Philippe Entremont, Eiji Oue, Jaap van Zweden, Thomas Hengelbrock, Pablo Gonzales, Francois Xavier Roth ,John Axelrod and Ingo Metzmacher. Together with Entremont , he regularly performs repertoire for two pianos, as was the case in Tel Aviv, where they played the Double Concertos of Mozart and Mendelssohn with the Israel Chamber Orchestra. Other major orchestras with whom Knauer has played are the Staatskapelle Dresden, Bamberg Symphony, NDR – Symphony and Radio Philharmonic, Hamburg Philharmonic and Symphony, SWF Baden Baden, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie, Concerto Cologne, the Vienna, Netherlands, Basel, Milan and Cologne Chamber, Radio Kamer Filharmonie Holland Camerata Salzburg, Luzern Symphony, Sinfonia Varsovia, Warsaw Philharmonic, Orchèstre Les Siècles, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, London Mozart Players, New York City Opera, Palm Beach Symphony, Qatar Philharmonic and Shanghai Philharmonic.
Between 1999 and 2002 he was performing and directing all 27 Mozart Piano Concertos with the Hamburg Philharmonic. Sebastian Knauer is a regular guest at Festival such as Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Mecklenburg, Baden Baden, Bonn Beethovenfest, Bremen Musikfest, Bad Kissingen, Vienna, John Adams Festival of the BBC Symphony London, Bath, Colmar, Festival Berlioz, Dubrovnik, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Vevey/Montreux, Byblos Festival Lebanon, Emilia Romagna Festival Italy, Lincoln Center Festival NY (USA), Ravinia (USA), Interlochen (USA), Savannah (USA), El Paso Pro Musica (USA), Santo Domingo (Dom.Rep.) and at the Shanghai Arts Festival. In Summer 2004 he gave his debut at the Salzburger Festspiele. In October 02 he performed for the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton in Berlin.
A dedicated chamber-musician, Sebastian Knauer now tours extensively with his Duo Partner Daniel Hope. Other artists with whom he worked together include Hermann Prey, Olaf Bär, Alban Gerhardt, Aron Quartet Vienna, Philharmonia Quartet Berlin (Berlin Philharmonic), John Neumeier and the Hamburg Ballet and the actor Klaus Maria Brandauer.
He recorded for Berlin Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Glissando, Naxos and Warner Classics with works of Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Chopin, Barber, Bernstein, Copland and Gershwin. The CD “East meets West” which he recorded together with Daniel Hope won the German “ECHO” and was nominated for the Grammy 2005.
His CD with Sir Roger Norrington and the Camerata Salzburg was celebrated as one of the best Mozart recordings ever, for his CD with works of Franz Schubert the Gramophone Magazine titled their review with the words: “Poise and discipline from a pianist we must hear more from”, his new CD “Pure Mendelssohn” was the Gramophone Editor’s choice in march 2009.