Tabea Zimmermann began learning the viola at the age of three, and two years later began playing the piano. In the beginning, she received significant inspiration from her first teacher Dietmar Mantel. She studied with Ulrich Koch at the Musikhochschule Freiburg and subsequently with Sandor Végh at the Mozarteum Salzburg.
Following her studies, she received several awards at international competitions, amongst them first prizes at the 1982 Geneva International Competition, the 1983 Maurice Vieux Competition in Paris and the 1984 Budapest International Competition.
She has been playing an instrument built for her by Patrick Robin since 2019. From 1987 until his early death in 2000, Tabea Zimmermann regularly performed with her husband, the conductor David Shallon. She lives in Berlin and has three almost grown-up children.
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’.