Maria Kliegel studied with János Starker at Indiana University in Bloomington, USA.
Mstislav Rostropovich described her as La Cellissima: “The best cellist I have heard since Jacqueline du Pré.”
She has won many first prizes in national and international cello competitions (including the American University Competition in Chicago, the German Music Competition in Bonn, the Aldo Parisot Competition in Brazil, and the Concours Rostropovich in Paris) and has made appearances as a soloist across the world.
Her extensive repertoire has been recorded on both CD and video. With around 1 million CDs sold worldwide, Maria Kliegel is the market leader in the field of cello literature. Above all, she has made a name for herself through her untiring commitment to contemporary music, which includes world premieres and CD recordings of works by, among others, Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina as well as Wilhelm Kaiser-Lindemann’s Hommage à Nelson Mandela.
Maria Kliegel has been teaching a master class at the Cologne University of Music from 1986 to 2023. In 2019 Maria Kliegel served as a faculty member of the newly founded “Institute of Musical Excellence” in Wroclaw (Breslau), Poland.
Furthermore, Maria Kliegel is a professor at the “University of Music” in Brescia/Italy from November 2021 on.
Maria Kliegel is impressively expanding her sphere of activity as a pedagogue with the international “Cello-Forum La Cellissima” in Essen/Germany she founded as of September 2021. – This forum includes international master classes on several dates per year.
She has also been a jury member in many competitions and is known for her active involvement in music education.
In Schott Master Class Cello, her multimedia book and DVD project published in 2006, she explores completely new paths for learning how to play the instrument. The volume was awarded the Digita special prize for the best German educational software and the Comenius EduMedia seal in 2007.
Since 2010 the label Naxos has been selling the English version Using Technique and Imagination to Achieve Artistic Expression worldwide. After almost three decades of brilliant and critically acclaimed productions for the label Naxos, with over 40 solo CDs and 2 Grammy nominations, Maria Kliegels latest production has been released in spring 2019 on the label GENUIN. On this new album “Voyages Sonores” Maria Kliegel is joined by the well-known pianist Oliver Triendl performing works by G.Connesson, C. Debussy, F.Poulenc, M.de Falla, E.Granados and G.Cassado. Maria Kliegels album “Voyages Sonores” has been nominated in 2019 for the prestigious INTERNATIONAL CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARD and for the german OPUS KLASSIK award as well.
Maria Kliegel plays a cello by Carlo Tononi, ca.1730, Venice.