Born 1959 in the provincial town of Westerstede, Northwest Germany, Plagge received his first piano lessons at home. By 1969 he was studying at the Bremen Conservatory with Prof. Peter-Jürgen Hofer. When Hofer moved to the Musikhochschule Hamburg in 1975. From 1973 to 1977 he won several prizes at the Germany national Music Competition “Jugend musiziert”. After finishing school in 1987 Plagge continued his studies with various famous teachers: in Freiburg with Vitaly Margulis, in Vienna with Paul Badura-Skoda, at the Juilliard School in New York with Gyorgy Sandor and finally in Hannover with Karlheinz Kämmerling.
In July 1990 Rolf Plagge became the first all-German pianist ever to become prizewinner at the prestigious Moscow Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. Before this highlight he had already been awarded numerous prizes in several national and international competitions in Senigallia, Seregno, Bolzano, Vienna, Bratislava, Salt Lake City, Montevideo, Bonn, Brussels (Reine Elisabeth).
Plagge is regularly performing on concert tours all over the world, as soloist and with national and international orchestras. Since 1991 Plagge is teaching as professor at the University of Music Mozarteum in Salzburg. There are several CD recordings with standard repertoire of Beethoven (AIDA), Liszt (TACET), Scriabine, Ravel (Harmonia Mundi), Schubert, Schumann, H. W. Henze’s 2nd Piano Concerto and the integrale piano oeuvre of Karol Szymanowsky.