The Tokyo-born piccolo and flute player Natalie Schwaabe grew up in Hong Kong. She started her musical training there and was a member of the Hong Kong Junior Academy of Performing Arts. After completing her secondary education at the Purcell School in London, she obtained her artistic diploma with honours and a master degree whilst studying with Professor Paul Meisen at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich.
At the age of 21 she became principal flute of the Munich Symphony Orchestra and two years later joined the Munich Radio Orchestra. In 1996 she fulfilled a dream in becoming a member of the prestigious Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, one of the world’s top ten orchestras. It has given her the privilege of working with great conductors and musicians such as Sir Simon Rattle, Carlos Kleiber, Ricardo Muti, Mariss Jansons and Daniel Barenboim. She is also a frequent piccolo player with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
In 1996 she received the special prize of the jury at the Prague Spring International Music Competition and was a prizewinner at the 1st International Carl Nielsen Flute Competition in 1998 in Odense, Denmark.
In addition to orchestral playing Natalie Schwaabe performs as a soloist, having been accompanied by the Nürnberger Symphoniker and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. A great joy for her is to play chamber music with her wind quintet and pianist Jan Philip Schulze.
She is a passionate teacher, giving many piccolo masterclasses worldwide and has the piccolo teaching position at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. She plays a Jochen Mehnert piccolo and lives in Munich with her husband, the violinist and composer Winfried Grabe, and their 3 children.