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, András Schiff, Christoph Eschenbach and Alexis Weissenberg. A prizewinner at numerous competitions, he made his concerto début at the age of thirteen, performing Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D major in the Hamburg Musikhalle. Shortly afterwards he made his international début as part of the European Concert series for RAI in Venice. Subsequent tours have taken him all over Europe, the United States, South America and Asia, with performances in major concert halls, collaborating with leading orchestras. The conductors with whom Sebastian Knauer has worked include Gerd Albrecht, Vladimir Fedosseyev, Neeme Järvi, Sir Roger Norrington, Philippe Entremont, Eiji Oue, 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. Between 1999 and 2002 he performed and directed all 27 Mozart Piano Concertos with the Hamburg Philharmonic.
Sebastian Knauer is a regular guest at important international festivals throughout Europe, in the United States, Central America and China. A dedicated chamber-musician, he now tours extensively with his Duo Partner Daniel Hope. Other artists with whom he has worked include Hermann Prey, Olaf Bär, Alban Gerhardt, the Aron Quartet Vienna, Philharmonia Quartet Berlin (Berlin Philharmonic), John Neumeier and the Hamburg Ballet, and the actor Klaus Maria Brandauer.
His first CD, released in 1998, was devoted to the music of Gershwin. Other recordings include music by Schubert, Chopin, Barber, Bernstein, and Copland, and piano concertos by Mozart and his son Franz Xaver. He has recorded Beethoven sonatas for Deutsche Grammophon and an award-winning East meets West together with Daniel Hope for Warner Classics, nominated for a Grammy® in 2005. Knauer became theartistic director of Festival de Marseillan in the South of France, which he established in 2001.