Kolja Lessing was born in Karlsruhe in 1961. He obtained a comprehensive musical training from his mother and entered Hansheinz Schneeberger's master class for violin in Basle in 1978. The following year he began to study the piano with Peter Efler and passed his concert exams in both fields in Basle (1982 and 1983). He also pursued intensive compositional studies at this time, and composed several chamber music works of which the duo for clarinet and violin «Die Schönheit eines Traumes (1980)» was awarded the prize of the Musikkredit Basel. After a lengthy pause, Lessing turned to composition in 1998 with the duo for flute and viola «Gleitende Figuren». Kolja Lessing concertizes both as pianist and violinist. He is particularly interested in the music of the 20th century an, thanks to internationally award-winning CDs released by Decca, Largo Records, MDG and Capriccio, he has provided major impulses towards the rediscovery of the works of Berthold Goldschmidt, Ignace Strasfogel, Zdenka von Ticharich, Emil Bohnke and Philipp Jarnach. His musicological commitment to the music of the 20th century is also documented by various publications including the first monograph of Ignace Strasfogel (2000). Composers such as Abel Ehrlich, Jacqueline Fontyn, Berthold Goldschmidt, Ignace Strasfogel and Hans Vogt have written violin works expressly for Kolja Lessing, who also premiered them. Other focal points in Lessing's repertoire include the music of Robert and Clara Schumann as well as of Johann Sebastian and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Lessing was professor of violin and chamber music at the Musikhochschule in Würzburg from 1989 to 1993 and took ober the same post at the Leipzig Musikhochschule in 1993. He was awarded the Johann Wenzel Stamitz Special Prize in 1999.