The three kilometer walk to The New School started for Maria Baptist in 1993, from her room in the rough New York neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. For New Yorkers, the first East German student since the fall of the wall was close to a sensation- for Maria Baptist it was a true melting pot experience. Every single day of these nearly 3 years were filled with moments which still shape her today. Her composition studies with Maria Schneider were, in hindsight, one of the most important experiences of this period.
When Maria Baptist bowed for the first time at the end of a solo piano evening in the packed Leipzig opera house in her mid-twenties, it dawned on her that she had left behind her composition and piano student days at the Hanns Eisler university in Berlin for good.
She was a rising star, winner of multiple awards, with her first CD released. Hungry for the stage, curious for life—Paris, Berlin, New York, Havanna, and Ibiza were just some of her living quarters during this time.
Maria Baptist still asks herself why Michael Jackson chose her, winter of 2002. Behind the closed show window of a restaurant in central Berlin, she played Beethoven, jazz standards, and her own pieces for the King of Pop and his entourage.