Markus Zahnhausen, born in Saarbrücken in 1965, studied with Hermann Elsner at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich and received formative inspiration as a composer from Rodion Shchedrin, Boris Tishchenko, Walter Mays, Günter Kochan and Hans Stadlmair.

Today he teaches at Munich University of Music and Theatre. He has also held a visiting professorship at Graz University of Music and the Performing Arts (2010-12) and has been a guest lecturer at many European music schools as well as Wichita State University (Kansas).

His catalogue of works includes orchestral music, concertos, choral works, chamber music, an oratorio and compositions for the recorder. His works have been performed by musicians of the stature of Michala Petri, Dan Laurin, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Quartet, the Odense Symphony Orchestra and most recently Konstantin Manaev, Niklas Liepe and Aylen Pritchin, and have been heard at such leading contemporary music festivals as the Moscow Autumn, the Munich A*DEvantgarde Festival and the Dark Music Days in Reykjavík.

He has been awarded the Villa Concordia Prize from the state of Bavaria for his music. In 2005 he received a scholarship to the Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz (New York), the Rodion Shchedrin Chamber Music Prize and the music scholarship from the City of Munich.