The German cellist, Matthias Michael Beckmann, was 8 years old when he received his first cello tuition from Claus Reichardt; aged 10, he was already a student at the Meistersinger Conservatorium Nürnberg. In 1996, he graduated from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, under Walter Nothas with the master class diploma "with distinction". Important musical influences came from master-classes held by André Navarra, (master-class at Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena in summer 1986), William Pleeth and Milos Sadlo, and from musicians including Irena Grafenauer and Hannelore Leiffolts (Mozarteum, Salzburg).
From 1995 to 2005, Matthias Michael Beckmann was a cellist in the m Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, most recently under Ivor Bolton. He has also worked with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Bayerisches Staatsorchester and the Staatstheater Nürnberg. He is a founder-member of the Salzburg Mozart Quartet, with which he has performed internationally since 1996. At home, the Quartet crowned the Salzburg Mozart-Haydn cycle (2000-2006) with an acclaimed performance of all 23 W.A. Mozart's string quartets for the W.A. Mozart anniversary in 2006. Numerous CD recordings for Mozartiana Classics document the Quartet’s successful career.
As a soloist, Matthias Michael Beckmann is best known for his rendering of works by Antonio Vivaldi,
Boccherini, Haydn, L.v. Beethoven, Dvořák and Friedrich Gulda, and since 2007 also for premièring works for 5-stringed cello. He has also been greatly influenced through regular collaboration with musicians such as Irena Grafenauer, Margit-Anna Süss, Ariane Haering, Pepe Romero, Radovan Vlatković, Michael Martin Kofler, Milan Turkovic, Sergio Azzolini, Benjamin Schmid and the Wiener Sängerknaben.
Matthias Michael Beckmann ranks as a pioneer of the cello: playing a unique 5-string cello with a descant E string and a range of five octaves. His cello was redesigned in 2007 by the master violin maker Roger Graham Hargrave and is unmistakably an independent instrument in the sound. Since 2014 he has owned another such instrument from the workshop of master violin maker Bertrand Bellin. He is the first musician to perform the entire cello literature on a 5-string cello from J.S. Bach to F. Gulda and is considered the pioneer of the 5-string cello.
Matthias Michael Beckmann teaches a class for 5-string cello and holds master-classes at home and abroad. He also published the new edition of Leopold Mozart’s Violinschule (Thorough Violin School). Leopold Mozart’s last authorised version (hitherto unavailable) appeared in 2007 in German and in 2008 in English. The preface to this edition, in modern print and musical notation, was written by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Kulturverlag Polzer).
His latest CD recordings of the six cello suites and the sonatas for viola da gamba by J.S. Bach have been acclaimed by critics and public alike. He currently lives in Salzburg, Austria,