Since 2017 Principal Professor for the Kronberg Academy Study Programmes
For many years, Tabea Zimmermann has been regarded as one of the most renowned musicians of our time. Audiences and fellow musicians value her charismatic personality and deep musical understanding. Arguably the finest violist in the world today, Tabea Zimmermann owes her success not only to her exceptional talent, but also to the support of her parents, thorough training by excellent teachers, a tireless enthusiasm to communicate her understanding and love of music to her audience and an umcompromisingly high quality standard.
As a soloist she regularly works with the most distinguished orchestras worldwide such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic. Following residencies in Weimar, Luxembourg, Hamburg and with the Bamberg Symphony, Tabea Zimmermann was artist-in-residence with the Ensemble Resonanz in 2013/14 and 2014/15, and continues this close collaboration this season. In the 2015/16 season, she was artist-in-residence of the Frankfurt Museums-Gesellschaft.
The Arcanto Quartet, in which she performs with violinists Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, has provided a special focus for Tabea Zimmermann’s chamber music activities. On the label Harmonia Mundi, they have released CDs of works by Bartók, Brahms, Ravel, Dutilleux, Debussy, Schubert and Mozart.
Tabea Zimmermann has inspired numerous composers to write for the viola and has introduced many new works into the standard concert and chamber music repertoire. In April 1994, she gave the highly successful world premiere of the Sonata for Solo Viola by György Ligeti, a work composed especially for her. The subsequent premieres of this work in London, New York, Paris, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, and Japan attracted great critical and public acclaim. In recent seasons, Tabea Zimmermann has premiered Recicanto for Viola and Orchestra by Heinz Holliger, the viola concerto Über die Linie IV by Wolfgang Rihm, Monh by George Lentz, Notte di pasqua by Frank Michael Beyer, a double concerto by Bruno Mantovani with Antoine Tamestit, and Filz by Enno Poppe with Ensemble Resonanz. She played the premiere of Michael Jarrell’s Viola Concerto at Festival Musica Strasbourg 2017 with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire under Pascal Rophé; and subsequent performances with the Vienna Symphony under Ingo Metzmacher, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Pascal Rophé and the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin under Mario Venzago.
To mark Hindemith’s anniversary in 2013, Tabea Zimmermann released a highly acclaimed complete recording of the composer’s works for viola on myrios classics. Following the success of her recording of solo works by Reger and Bach with myrios classics in 2009 – for which she received an Echo Klassik prize as Instrumentalist of the Year – she has released three albums with pianists Kirill Gerstein and Thomas Hoppe. Tabea Zimmerman’s artistry is documented on approximately 50 CDs for labels such as EMI, Teldec, and Deutsche Grammophon. A live recording of her performance on Beethoven’s own viola at the Beethovenhaus Bonn, accompanied by Hartmut Höll, was released by Ars Musici.
Tabea Zimmermann has received several national and international awards for her outstanding artistic achievements. These include the Frankfurter Musikpreis, Hessischer Kulturpreis, Rheingau Musikpreis, International Prize Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna, the Paul-Hindemith-Prize from the city of Hanau and most recently as Artist of the Year by the ICMA International Classical Music Awards 2017. Tabea Zimmermann is a foundation board member of the Hindemith Foundation in Blonay (Switzerland) as well as ambassador for the Bundesstiftung Kinderhospiz (German Foundation for Children’s Hospices). In July 2013, she was appointed chairwoman of the board of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Under her aegis, the Beethoven-Woche Bonn has taken place every year since January 2015. In 2020 she was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize.
Tabea Zimmermann began learning the viola at the age of three, and two years later began playing the piano. She studied with Ulrich Koch at the Musikhochschule Freiburg and subsequently with Sandor Vegh at the Mozarteum Salzburg. Following her studies, she received several awards at international competitions, amongst them first prizes at the 1982 Geneva International Competition and the 1984 Budapest International Competition. As a result of winning the 1983 Maurice Vieux Competition in Paris, she received a viola by the contemporary maker Etienne Vatelot, on which she has been performing ever since. From 1987 to 2000, she regularly gave concerts in Düsseldorf, Jerusalem and Luxembourg with the late David Shallon, father of her two sons Yuval and Jonathan. Tabea Zimmermann has held teaching posts at the Musikhochschule Saarbrücken and Hochschule für Musik Frankfurt. Since October 2002, she has been a professor at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin, where she now lives with her three children.
Last updated: January 2020