For many years, Tabea Zimmermann has been one of the most renowned musicians of our time. Her charismatic personality and deep musical understanding are valued equally by both her audience and her fellow musicians. 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, and a tireless enthusiasm to communicate her understanding and love of music to her audience.
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 will be artist-in-residence with the Ensemble Resonanz in 2013/14 and 2014/15. Together with the Ensemble, she will perform concerts in their hometown Hamburg at the Laeiszhalle, at the Konzerthaus Vienna and at the Philharmonie Cologne.
In addition to the premiere of a new work by Enno Poppe with Ensemble Resonanz, a special highlight of the 2014/15 season will be her Viola Day at the Wigmore Hall when Tabea Zimmermann can be heard, together with fellow violists Garth Knox, Antoine Tamestit and Rosalind Ventris, in a series of three concerts that trace the history of the instrument from the Baroque period to the present day, and feature exemplary works by Purcell, Schumann, Brahms, Shostakovich and, last but not least, Paul Hindemith.
The Arcanto Quartet, with violinists Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, continues to be a special focus for Tabea Zimmermann’s chamber music activities. In the last few years, the quartet has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon, Palau de la Música Barcelona, Théâtre du Châtelet and Cité de la Musique Paris, the Philharmonie Berlin and the Konzerthaus Vienna, and toured Israel, Japan and North America. On the label Harmonia Mundi, they released CDs with works by Bartók, Brahms, Ravel, Dutilleux, Debussy and Schubert.
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 a 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 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, and, together with Antoine Tamestit, a double concerto by Bruno Mantovani.
On the occasion of the Hindemith anniversary in 2013, Tabea Zimmermann released a highly acclaimed complete recording of Paul Hindemith’s works for viola on myrios classics. Following the success of her Solo-CD of works by Reger and Bach with myrios classics in 2009, for which she received an Echo Klassik prize as Instrumentalist of the Year, she released an album with pianist Kirill Gerstein featuring sonatas by Johannes Brahms, Henri Vieuxtemps, and Rebecca Clarke in September 2010. Approximately 50 CDs for labels such as EMI, Teldec, and Deutsche Grammophon document Tabea Zimmermann’s artistry. Ars Musici released a live recording of her performance on Beethoven’s own viola at the Beethovenhaus Bonn, accompanied by Hartmut Höll.
Tabea Zimmermann has received several national and international awards for her outstanding artistic contributions. These include the Frankfurter Musikpreis, Hessischer Kulturpreis, Rheingau Musikpreis, International Prize Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna, and the Paul-Hindemith-Prize from the city of Hanau. Tabea Zimmermann is foundation board member of the Hindemith Foundation in Blonay (Switzerland) as well as ambassador of 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 will take place in January 2015 with the theme “Fugato”.
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 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’ Berlin where she now lives with her three children.