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 uncompromisingly high quality standard. Her work with orchestras is also guided by the ideals of her work as a chamber musician, where artistic integrity is paramount.
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. In the season of 2019/2020, Tabea Zimmermann will be Artist-in-Residence of the Concertgebouworkest in Amsterdam and her great versatility will be showcased not only in Amsterdam, but also on tour. 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.
Tabea Zimmermann kicks off the 2019/20 season at the Schleswig Holstein, Rosendal and Salzburg Festivals and, with the Concertgebouworkest, in Amsterdam as well as at the Lucerne and Grafenegg Festivals. Among the many highlights of the current season are her concerts with Les Siècles under François-Xavier Roth at Musikfest Berlin, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas as well as an extensive recital tour in the United States with Javier Perianes. She has created two special chamber music concerts for the Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin and the Badenweiler Musiktage. In the field of chamber music, Tabea Zimmermann will also play trio concerts with Jörg Widmann and Dénes Várjon as well as with Daniel Sepec and Jean-Guihen Queyras, and will appear in duo recitals with the pianists Javier Perianes and Thomas Hoppe.
The Arcanto Quartet, in which she performed with violinists Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, provided a special focus for Tabea Zimmermann’s chamber music activities in recent years. 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 recording of the composer’s complete 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 Harmonia Mundi, 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’s artistic work has been recognized with numerous awards both in Germany and abroad, most recently with the international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize 2020. In addition, she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, Frankfurter Musikpreis, Hessischer Kulturpreis, Rheingau Musikpreis, International Prize Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna, the Paul-Hindemith-Prize from the city of Hanau and named Artist of the Year by the ICMA International Classical Music Awards 2017. Since January 2017 Tabea Zimmermann is a foundation board member of the Hindemith Foundation in Blonay (Switzerland). 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 and culminates in an extended three week festival with almost all of the composer’s chamber music in 2020.
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. In addition, she has been playing an instrument built for her by Patrick Robin since 2019. She regularly gave concerts together with her husband David Shallon from 1987 until his death in 2000. She lives in Berlin and has three young adult 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’.
As of May 2020
Zimmermann, Gerhaher, Widmann, Stefanovich
Music by Wolfgang Rihm (WP)
François-Xavier Roth, conductor
Works by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Helmut Lachenmann and Hector Berlioz
Schola des Rundfunkchor Berlin
Benjamin Goodson, conductor
Works by Igor Stravinsky, Morton Feldman and John Cage
Violin soloists / Percussion
Tabea Zimmermann & Ensemble Resonanz
Schubert / Poppe / Saunders
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Works by Franz Liszt, Wolfgang Rihm and Camille Saint-Säens