Languages: German, English, Spanish, Russian, (French, Italian)
Rolf Plagge was born in Westerstede in northwest Germanyin 1959 and had his first piano lessons at the age of six. While still at school he studied with Prof. Peter-Jürgen Hofer in Hamburg. On completing school (and passing his Abitur examinations), he continued his studies in Freiburgwith Vitaly Margulis. Under the guidance of Margulis, Plagge acquired the foundations of his mature performance technique and also came to appreciate the whole range of the Russian piano repertoire. After 1981, he was taught by Prof. Paul Badura-Skoda at the Vienna Academy of Music.
In 1983, thanks to an overseas scholarship funded by the German Study Awards Programme (Deutsche Studienstiftung), Plagge took part in Gyorgy Sandor`s class at the Juilliard School of Music, New York. In 1991, Plagge graduated in Solo Piano from the Hanover Conservatory, where he had studied with Karlheinz Kämmerling.
Rolf Plagge has won prizes at many national and international competitions and was awarded first-prize in the Hamburg Steinway Competitionfive times in succession. He won his first international prize in 1979, at the Italian piano competition in Senigallia. Prizes in the1980 Busoni Competition in Bolzano, the 1981 ARD Competitionin Munich, the 1984 Gina Bachauer Competition in Salt Lake Cityand the 1987 Concours Reine Elisabeth in Brussels, followed. In 1990 he succeeded in becoming the first German ever to win a prize in the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow.
Living in Saaldorf in Upper Bavaria, speaks fluent Russian. For many reasons he feels a particularly profound affinity towards the Russian piano repertoire: his studies with Vitaly Margulis, his knowledge of the Russian language, and the chance to perform before the piano commission at the Leningrad Conservatory during a school visit to Moscow and Leningrad in 1977, were inspirational for him. In addition, he is focusing increasingly on rarly performed piano concertos of Barber, Henze, Szymanowsky and others.
Since 1991 Professor Plagge is teaching a piano class in the Department of Keyboard instruments at the MozarteumUniversity.
In 1988 he established the Piano Duo "Reine Elisabeth" with Wolfgang Manz.