Michael Essl was born in Stuttgart in Germany in 1991 in a family of musicians. After initially training as a classical pianist, he decided to study jazz piano at the music academy in Stuttgart with Hubert Nuss in 2011. In 2014 he received a scholarship for the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he continued his education with Francesca Tanksley and Laszlo Gardony and at the same time began to study composition with Andrew List. From 2016 he continued his composition studies with Hanspeter Kyburz at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin. Besides that he took part in several masterclasses and had composition lessons with Jukka Tiensuu, Jan Jirasek, Ofer Ben-Amots, Tomi Räisänen, Rainer Tempel and Johannes Schöllhorn among others.

“Interplanetary Revolution”, silent film score for orchestra (2017)

Michael Essl is active as a pianist and composer in various fields. His compositional oeuvre includes orchestral works, chamber music, choral music and solo pieces, as well as works for jazz ensembles and music for silent films. His music is characterized by strong contrasts and a richness of associations. His experience as a pianist and improviser also enables him to combine complex formal structures with playful spontaneity. He acts without aesthetic constraints and combines different musical elements and especially influences from jazz to his own language.

He has received several awards for his works, including first prizes at international composition competitions such as the Alba Rosa Viëtor Competition and the Joseph Dorfman Competition. His pieces have been performed in Germany, USA, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands by professional musicians and ensembles such as Echo Prize winner Christian Segmehl, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, Wolfgang Zerer, the Freiburger Kammerchor and the Orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin. In addition, several of his works have already been released on CD. Since 2018 he has been sponsored by Edition Peters with a scholarship.

Michael Essl lives and works in Berlin.


  • “Senja” for large orchestra (2019)
  • “VierViertel” for Recorder, Viola, Tuba and Piano (2018)
  • “Flowing” for Organ and three Percussionists (2018)
  • “Interplanetary Revolution”, silent film score for orchestra (2017)
  • “Humoresque” for chamber orchestra (2017)
  • “Forgotten Memories” for large orchestra (2017)
  • “Traum” for choir (2016)
  • “Unter Zeitdruck” for Brass Band and Saxophon solo (2016)
  • “-ESCAPE-” for trombone quartet (2016)
  • “Taking the Right Fork” for Big Band and Alto solo (2015)
  • “A Mystic Impression” for piano trio (2015)
  • “Three poems” for piano solo (2015)
  • “Turning Spindle” for piano trio (2013)


  • 2019: Cultural Award of the “Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft”
  • 2018: 3. prize at the international composition competition „Young Virtuosos“ (BG)
  • 2018: Award for choral writing at the international composition competition „A.D.Kastalsky“ (RU)
  • 2018: Winner of the 12. international Kompolize-Competition (DE)
  • 2017: 3. Prize at the international composition competition „Artistes en Herbe“ (LU)
  • 2015: Honorable Mention at the international composition competition „De Bach au Jazz“ (FR)
  • 2015: Honorable Mention at the international composition competition „The Other Composition Competition“ (US)
  • 2014: 1. Prize at the international Alba Rosa Viëtor composition competition (NL)
  • 2013: 1. Prize at the international Joseph Dorfman composition competition (DE)


  • “Flowing” for organ and three percussionists


World premiere of a new piece for piano quintet in Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, played by pianist Lili Bogdanova and string players from Concertgebouw Orchestra (12:00 and 14:15)

Second performance of the piano quintet in Bijlmer Parktheater, Amsterdam (11:00)