Tabea Zimmermann

Tabea Zimmermann

I prefer direct contact with other musicians through my instrument. Although I now have a more comprehensive picture of a composition than I did 20 years ago, I have no wish to exert control over a performance. The best results come when each musician feels invited to take part in an interpretation, the communication taking place through the musical flow.


Professor for Viola at the Academy of Music “Hanns Eisler” Berlin
Artist in Residence in Hamburg with Ensemble Resonanz (2013-2015)
Foundation Board Member of the Hindemith Foundation Blonay/Switzerland
Chairwoman of the Board of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn,
Principal of the Beethoven week since January 2015

Early years and education

Tabea Zimmermann als Kind

A career should never develop faster than one’s inner growth. Aspects like sound and tonal volume need their time to be developed. This isn’t just a question of the hands and musculature or of techniques. The imagination must develop as well.

1966 born October 8th in Lahr/Black Forest
1969 started playing the viola with Dietmar Mantel, Music School Lahr
1971 started playing the piano with Klaus Rupprecht, individually
1979-1986 Viola studies at the University of Music Freiburg with Ulrich Koch
1986-1987 continued studies with Sandor Végh at Mozarteum Salzburg


All too often a young competition winner is taken up by an agency as the ‘new star’; the publicity machine starts rolling and the musician has to fulfill lots of engagements. He feels like a hamster in a wheel. Who can mature as an artist under such conditions? My advice to all young musicians is to trust their own instincts and allow themselves to grow. Only then is it possible for something out of the ordinary to happen.

1972 2nd Award Viola solo “Jugend musiziert” Germany
1974 1st Award Viola solo “Jugend musiziert” Germany
1st Award Instrumental Cooperation “Jugend musiziert” (Trio) Germany
1976 1st Award Viola solo “Jugend musiziert” Germany
2nd Award Chamber music String Instruments “Jugend musiziert” (Trio) Germany
1978 1st Award Viola solo “Jugend musiziert” Germany
1980 1st Award String trio “Jugend musiziert” Germany
1982 1st Award Viola solo “Jugend musiziert” Germany
1982 1st Award at the Concours de Genève
1983 1st Award at the International Viola Competitions “Maurice Vieux” Paris, winning a Viola from Étienne Vatelot which she is playing still today
1984 1st Award Budapest Music Competitions


I take a lot of trouble to create a spirit of community in my classes, so my students recognize that they are all individuals and don’t compete and measure themselves against one another.

1987-1989 youngest professor in Germany at the Hochschule für Musik Saar Saarbrücken
1994 professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Frankfurt/Main
since 2002 professor at the Academy of Music “Hanns Eisler” Berlin


2014 Echo Klassik as intrumentalist of the year for her CD with compositions of Hindemith Vol. 1 for viola and orchestra
2014 Honorary Membership in the AVS – American Viola Society
2012 Order of Merit of Baden-Württemberg
2010 Echo Klassik as instrumentalist of the year for her solo-CD with compositions of Reger and Bach
2009 Order or Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia
2006 Paul Hindemith Award of the city of Hanau
2002 Hessian Culture Award (Hessischer Kulturpreis)
1999 Rheingau Music Award
Würth Award of Jeunesses Musicales Germany
1997 International Award of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana Siena
1995 Frankfurt Music Prize

Artist in Residence

The chance to be artist in residence entails being able to risk a more varied program.

2013-2015 Ensemble Resonanz, Hamburg
2012-2013 Bamberg Symphony
Mai 2012 Bodenseefestival
2009-2010 Elbe Philharmonic Orchestra Hamburg
2008 Kunstfest Weimar
2007-2008 Philharmonic Orchestra Luxemburg
2006-2007 Philharmonic Orchestra Cologne
1999 Cité de la Musique Paris


since 2013 Member of the board of the Hindemith Stiftung Blonay/Switzerland
since 2013 Chairwoman of the board of the Beethoven-Haus, Bonn
since 2012 Member of the advisory board of the Musikkindergarten Berlin e.V.
since 2011 Member of the Academy of Sciences North Rhine-Westphalia
2011-2013 Ambassador of the German Foundation for Children’s Hospices


Michael Wessel: Üben Proben Karriere – 12 Interpreten im Gespräch, Bärenreiter 2012
Order at

Brigitte Beier, Karina Schmidt: Hier spielt die Musik! Tonangebende Frauen in der Klassikszene, AvivA 2011