Steffen Schleiermacher is active as a composer, a conductor, and a pianist specializing in contemporary music.
From 1980 to 1985, he studied at the Leipzig Musikhochschule under Siegfried Thiele and Friedrich Schenker (composition), Gerhard Erber (piano), and Günter Blumhagen (conducting); and at the DDR Akademie der Künste with Friedrich Goldmann (composition). He later studied piano with Aloys Kontarsky. He has performed as soloist with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Schleiermacher has been the artistic director of the Ensemble Avantgarde, the Gewandhaus Musica Nova concert series, and an annual contemporary music festival in Leipzig. He has won an award from the Gaudeamus Competition (1985), the Hanns Eisler Prize (1989, for his Concerto for viola and chamber ensemble), the Schneider-Schott Music Prize (1992), and has been awarded residencies at the Villa Massimo, Rome (1992), and the Cité des Arts, Paris (1998). Schleiermacher's compositional influences include Indonesian gamelan and traditional Japanese sacred music. His discopgraphy includes music by Satie, Schoenberg, Hauer, Feldman, and Glass, as well as the piano music of John Cage.