The German pianist, Babette Hierholzer, had her first piano lessons at the age of 5 with Elisabeth Dounias-Sindermann and Wolfgang Saschowa in Berlin, making her first public appearance at the age of 11 in the Philharmonic Hall in Berlin, playing Mozart's Concerto K. 488. She then studied with Herbert Stessin at The Juilliard School, Precollege Division, in New York, with Paul Badura-Skoda at the Folkwang-Hochschule, Essen and in Vienna, with Maria Tipo in Florence, and with Bruno-Leonardo Gelber in Buenos Aires. She was awarded scholarships by the Study Grant of the German People and Oskar and Vera Ritter-Stiftung.
Babette Hierholzer's debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1978 was followed by numerous performances with this famed orchestra, led by renowned conductors Klaus Tennstedt, Sir Colin Davis, Leopold Hager, and Semyon Bychkov. She has performed extensively in recital and chamber music, and as soloist with orchestras in most of the countries of Europe, the USA, South America, and Africa. In 1986, she gave her American debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony playing the Franz Liszt Concerto No. l. Other engagements have included the Philharmonic Orchestra Kiel, Philharmonic Orchestra Ulm, Hamburg Symphonic Orchestra, touring with the Nordwest-deutschen Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfonica Bilbao, Festival International de Bordeaux, and the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra. In May 1993, she performed the F. Liszt Concerto No. l with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile; in June 1993, she performed the same work with the Staatskapelle in Berlin, Paavo Berglund conducting. In 1994, she performed the Clara Schumann Piano Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony during its Summerfest, and made her Canadian debut with the Saskatoon Symphony. In 1996 she again performed the Clara Schumann concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony and the Berliner Symphoniker. In January 1997, she performed the Robert Schumann Concerto with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Maracaibo and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Merida.
Babette Hierholzer has won numerous first prizes in international competitions, including the Steinway Piano Competition, in Berlin, seven times; the All German National Piano Competition, twice; first prize in the "G.B. Viotti" Concorso Internazionale di Musica in Vercelli, Italy; the Medaille d'Argent of the Festival International des Jeunes Solistes in Bordeaux, France; first prize in the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition plus the prestigious Andy Petlansky Memorial Award in Palm Springs. In February 1992 she played her New York debut recital as winner of the East & West Artists Prize for New York Debut.
Babette Hierholzer played the opening concert of the season with the South Carolina Philharmonic, playing F. Liszt No. 1, conducted by Nicholas Smith. On November 11, 2001, she played a recital at the Frick Collection in New York City on very short notice and this season she returned to perform at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, with a recital of music by Clara and Robert Schumann. Recent performances include appearances with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, the DeKalb Symphony in Atlanta and Orquesta del Nuevo Mundo in Mexico City. Previously, she stepped in for Horatio Gutierrez in a recital in Berlin's Philharmonic Hall.
Babette Hierholzer has made a number of recordings with Marus/EMI Electrola playing works by Schumann (including the recently discovered Exercises, variations on a theme by Beethoven), Couperin, Debussy, Mozart, and Scarlatti: Sonatas Vols. 1, 2 and 3. Her most recent releases were a CD of posthumous works of Franz Schubert, and "Music for Children", Kinderszenen. She performed the sound track and the double/stand-in role for Clara Wieck (Nastassia Kinski) in Peter Schamoni's movie Spring Symphony, about the life of Robert Schumann.