The Swiss pianist, Michael Studer, grew up in a musically and culturally stimulating family home; his father worked as a high school director in Thun and Interlaken, his mother was an excellent pianist, but did not perform publicly. He began his pianistic training at the Bern Conservatory with Suzanne Eggli, continued his studies with Yvonne Lefébure at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris from 1960 to 1962 and then went to Vienna as a private pupil of Richard Hauser. His playing was perfected in master-classes with Bruno Seidlhofer in Cologne and Géza Anda in Lucerne. He was the first winner of the 1962 Piano Competition of the Paris Conservatoire and subsequently won further prizes at the Grand Pembaur Competition Bern and the Concours Musical International de Montréal. He also received the Culture Prize of the city of Thun.
From the mid-1960's, Michael Studer regularly appeared as a soloist at Swiss music festivals, such as at the Festival Tibor Varga (Sion), Festival Yehudi Menuhin (Gstaad), International Music Festival Lucerne (today Lucerne Festival) and International June Festival Zürich (today Festspiele Zürich). He collaborated with internationally renowned conductors, including Charles Dutoit, Zdenek Mácal, Paul Kletzki, Armin Jordan, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Erich Leinsdorf, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Fritz Rieger, Herbert Blomstedt, Gerd Albrecht and Antal Doráti.
Since 2000, Michael Studer has suffered from a chronic hearing ailment which tragically caused premature retirement. In 2001, he had to give up his concert career and his professorship at the Bern Conservatory.
Michael Studer played for the record label Luna he founded from the late 1960's on a total of five LP's solo works by Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin, Debussy, Franz Liszt, W.A. Mozart, Ravel, Schubert and Robert Schumann. Further recordings followed by various Swiss labels. An LP with melodramas by Strauss, Nietzsche and F. Liszt was published by Jecklin; his artistic partner as speaker was Gert Westphal. For Claves Records he recorded works by J.S. Bach, Haydn, W.A. Mozart (piano concertos Nos. 9, 11 and 12 with Helmut Müller-Brühl), Sergei Rachmaninov and R. Schumann. His last recording, produced by Müller & Schade in 1999, was based on works by F. Chopin.
Michael Studers piano playing happily unites the essential conceptions of the great German and French piano schools of the 20th century: His technically superior interpretations are characterized by extraordinary text fidelity, structural clarity, rhythmic conciseness, and high sonic sensibility, avoiding any sentimentality or affectation of expression. Thanks to this universality and concentration on the presentation of the musical content Studer has met the most diverse stylistic requirements of piano music between J.S. Bach and Ravel in exemplary recordings. He also continues the line of great Swiss pianists of the 20th century, represented by Edwin Fischer and Paul Baumgartner. Altthough he is a remarkable pianist, he is not well-known outside his native Switzerland.
In 2007, Claves Records released a representative selection of Michael Studer's best recordings made betwen 1971 and 1999 into a 6-CD tribute album under the title "Michael Studer - The Legacy", supplemented by two concert recordings of Swiss Radio with Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major (under Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande) and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor by Camille Saint-Saëns (under Fritz Rieger and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne).