Markus Stocker was born in 1945 in Basel, Switzerland. He first took courses at the University in classics, history and philosophy and then studied cello and viola da gamba with August Wenzinger at the Academy of Music in Basel. After completing his Teacher’s and Soloist’s Diplomas he furthered his studies for two years in Paris with André Navarra and in masterclasses with Paul Tortelier and Pierre Fournier. He spent one year as assistant to Fritz Magg at the Indiana University in Bloomington, USA.
In 1972 he won the International Cello Competition in Paris in memory of Maurice Maréchal, whose cello he now plays. He also obtained the Debussy Prize of the City of Paris and in 1973 won the Soloist’s Prize of the Association of Swiss Musicians.
He then entered the Winterthur Symphony Orchestra as principal cellist and became a member of the Winterthur String Quartet. In 1976 he was appointed professor at the Musikhochschule of Zurich. His solo engagements brought him to most European countries, North America, South Africa, Israel, Russia and the Far East. Here he regularly appeared in China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, as well as in South-East Asia. In the first concert after the Vietnam War he was in 1978 the soloist with the Hanoi Symphony Orchestra. His debut in Beijing 1984 with the Central Philharmonic Orchestra led to regular visits back.
He has performed with eminent musicians such as Martha Argerich, Rudolf Serkin, Tamas Vasary, Ivry Gitlis, Gidon Kremer, Sandor Végh, Wanda Wilkomirska, Karl Leister, Alfred Prinz and played as soloist under conductors like Charles Dutoit, Armin Jordan, Paul Sacher, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Franz Welser-Möst, David Zinman etc. He was a guest at the Festivals of Lucerne, Salzburg, Kuhmo, Lockenhaus, Marlboro, Vence and many others. Among his recordings are the solo suites by Bach, the works by Mendelssohn and the sonatas by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. In February 1995 he gave the European Premiere of Oskar Morawetz’ cello concerto “Memorial to Martin Luther King” with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra.
From 1995 till 2013 Markus Stocker was Professor at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.
Since many years he is a regular guest professor in China, holding honorary professor-ships in Shenyang, Guangzhou and in Beijing (China and Central Conservatory).
Daily Telegraph: “a cellist of real stature whose technique serves a deep and extraordinarily communicative musicality” (London 1973)
New York Times: “the aristocrat among the cellists of his generation” (Tim Page, New York 1984)
China Daily: “Swiss cellist Markus Stocker received a standing ovation in Beijing at a joint concert with China’s Central Philharmonic Society.” (Beijing 1984)
The Argus: “As a cellist, Stocker has ample means to charm an audience. Stocker was an instant favourite with the audience and obliged with an encore, a gnomic march by Prokofiev; somehow a little piece that followed the brilliant concerto performance with just the right touch of humour.” (Cape Town 1989)
South China Morning Post: “Mr Stocker is a man of generous musicianship and he evidently finds pleasure in sharing his playing with an audience. – This was powerful playing, but always thoughtful, never stressing technique above any other element.” (Hong Kong 1980)
Neue Zuercher Zeitung: “Stocker impressed with a strong emotional account in a highly intense and dramatic dialogue with the Tonhalle Orchestra.” (Zurich 1995)