Markus Burger

markus burger in joshua tree

Lecturer, Music Entrepreneurship & Business



Primary Email: [email protected]


Markus Burger is a German born and raised Concert Pianist, Composer & Educator living in the greater Los Angeles Area in California for the past 20 years.

In developing his signature sound over the years, Burger drew his influences from a wide range of musical styles including J.S. Bach, Claude Debussy, Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Esbjörn Svensson.

His musical output is in the meantime documented on 15 CDs ranging from Solo Piano work (Ultreya) to his renowned Duo with Saxophonist Jan von Klewitz entitled Spiritual Standards to his Trio Accidental Tourist with Jazz legends Bob Magnusson on bass and Peter Erskine on drums.

Burger, a native of the German Moselle Region, started playing the piano at age 6 and was from his early beginnings interested in improvising on classical music and later introduced by his uncle (an avid Jazz pianist himself) to the music of Errol Garner, Oscar Peterson and Thelonious Monk. He furthered his education in Hamburg, Hilversum, Essen and later Maastricht before moving to the USA in 2000.

During his formative years in the city of Cologne he released two albums with his renowned quartet Septer Bourbon which earned him European accolades not only as a pianist but also as a composer earning him a finalist slot in the European Jazz Composition competition in Moncao.

His Duo Spiritual Standards with fellow Septer Bourbon saxophonist Jan von Klewitz hit a spot in the top 20 of the German charts right from the start in 1999, hence allowing both musicians to travel the world presenting this unique crossover project to audiences from Russia to South and North America. During their annual Tour in December they have played for the German foreign service worldwide (including the Vatican, Russia, Brazil, Iceland and Brazil).

Since 2012 Burger has returned to his Jazz roots and started his new band project Accidental Tourists which has released 3 albums so far.

Collaborators on the three releases so far for renowned label Challenge Records have included Joe Labarbera, Bob Magnusson, Kenny Wheeler and Peter Erskine.

In December of 2018 Burger was inducted in the family of Bösendorfer pianists by Artist Manager Ferdinand Bräu.

New musical projects of Burger include his love for classical and folk music and resulted in the collaborations with the Athos Ensemble and a program featuring the music of Bach and Luther as well as German Folk songs.

2019 also marks the start of another album with Ensemble Katharsis and the North Atlantic Jazz Alliance, as part of the sponsored projects in the 2019 German Amercian Year. He has been a Professor at Fullerton College since 2005 and was responsible for building their Jazz Piano program as well as establishing the West Coast’s most important Electronic Music Program on a Junior College Level.

Since 2012 he has been also teaching the Graduate Jazz Piano and Composition students at San Diego State University.

He is now in the process of reshaping and innovating the Music Entrepreneurship Program at SDSU.


  • Masters of Performing Arts, University of Essen