World premieres

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.


York Höller (2018)
Konzert für Viola und Orchester

Gürzenich-Orchester, Con. François-Xavier Roth


Michael Jarrell (2016)
Emergences – Résurgences

for Viola and Orchestra
Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Con. Pascal Rophé


Birke Bertelsmeier (2016)
Von Kopf durch Kopf zu Kopf

for Viola solo
Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik


Jörg Widmann (2015)
Trio für Viola, Klarinette und Klavier

Jörg Widmann, clarinet
Dénes Várjon, piano

April 2015

Enno Poppe (2015)

(for Tabea Zimmermann)
Ensemble Resonanz, Con. Enno Poppe
Wien, Köln, Hamburg


Bruno Mantovani (2008)
Concerto pour deux altos et orchestre

(for Tabea Zimmermann and Antoine Tamestit)
L’Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln


Menachem Wiesenberg (2008)
Double Concerto for Viola and Violoncello

(in memoriam David – Dudu – Shallon)
with Hillel Zori, violoncello
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Con. Steven Sloane


Frank Michael Beyer
“Notte di pasqua”

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

Frank Michael Beyer about his work in a letter to Tabea Zimmermann:

“That this music now is connected with your name fills me with joy! A composition with such a defining title apparently points beyond itself, although the notion of musical invention goes – metaphorically speaking – into the world of tones in order to then grasp the concept. You have sublimely opened this spherical tonality to the people.”


Georges Lentz (2001-2005)
“Monh” from “Mysterium” (“Caeli enarrant…” VII) for viola solo, orchestra & electronics

Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Con. Steven Sloane

Tabea Zimmermann: “This hauntingly atmospheric piece – the titel is an aboriginal word for ‘the sky above the desert’ – is not all about the viola or the orchestra as we know them. Lentz writes literally un-heard of sounds, at an extremely slow pulse, and is adamant that the music shouldn’t be beaten out by the conductor, but that musicians should breathe together. Although this absolutely agrees with my own conception of music, at a tempo of 30 beats per minute it is easier said than done. At one point there is a general rest of 24 seconds that requires great concentration from both musicians and audience.”


Sally Beamish
“The Seafarer” Viola Concerto No. 2

(dedicated to Tabea Zimmermann in memory of David Shallon)

Sally Beamish about the performance in a letter to Tabea Zimmermann:

“It is hard to describe my feelings following the concerto performances. You brought something to the piece that made it somehow bigger, more special, more personal than I had imagined. I felt it was a true collaboration by instinct.”


Heinz Holliger
“Recicanto” for viola und orchestra

WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Con. Heinz Holliger

Heinz Holliger about his work in a letter to Tabea Zimmermann, to whom it is dedicated:

“…today I send you the solo voices of my monster. After considering various titles I have decided to stick with RECICANTO. The whole piece is a kind of ‘sung scene’ or a huge ‘Recitativo accompagnato’….”


Wolfgang Rihm (2000/2002)
“Über die Linie” IV concert no. 2 for viola and orchestra

(dedicated to Tabea Zimmermann)
Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Con. Hans Zender, Budapest

Wolfgang Rihm about his work in a letter to Tabea Zimmermann:

“Here it is. Again nothing Paganini-esque. But I hope of course that it is something good. It is an inner monologue from the beginning until the end. The day before yesterday I heard you playing the B.A.Zi.-Sonata on the radio and was deeply touched. In moments like these, one wants to be able to exist. That is maturity and mastery be entrusted to this intimate chamber music… Everything is just lineal, nothing is scraped, always sung. My old idea of a sung concert, a ‘cantata by instruments’, I can’t get it out of my mind. Maybe for good reason…”


Matthias Pintscher (2001)
“Janusgesicht” for viola and cello

with Alban Gerhardt, Cello
at Kraftwerk Heimbach, “Spannungen”


Menachem Wiesenberg
“Monodialogue” Fantasia for viola solo

Tel Aviv


Alexander Goehr
“Sur terre, en l’air” op. 64 for viola and piano

with Hartmut Höll, Piano
Schwetzingen Festival


Yinam Leef
Concerto for Viola and Symphony Orchestra

Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Con. David Shallon


Menachem Wiesenberg (1994)
“Like clay in the potter’s hand” for viola and piano

with Menachem Wiesenberg, Piano


Helmut Oehring (1996)
SEXTON A. für viola solo

(dedicated to Tabea Zimmermann)


Alexander Goehr
“Schlussgesang” op. 61

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Con. Oliver Knussen
Aldeburgh Festival

Alexander Goehr about the performance in a letter to Tabea Zimmermann:

“For me, composing is a great pleasure – when I’m in the middle of writing the harmony seems to be brightly coloured and alive. But in the months after I have finished it all fades away and I’m terribly afraid that what was so real while I was writing it, will never appear again. But I am lucky with the performers who do my pieces (at least sometimes!). And I was really lucky last week! After the first troublesome rehearsals, the music began to come alive: I don’t know how it is done; it is rather like those Japanese flowers we used to put into water, which would swell out and become ‘real’. So it was – gradually I began to hear the passages and the harmonies I had imagined and, apart from the actual private pleasure of writing, the moment when the notation becomes real sound is the best thing I knew in life.
Real performers, like yourself, who have taken so much trouble to find out what to do before you even come to the rehearsal, bring a kind of inevitability to a piece which after all nobody can judge and make it seem much better than it probably is. That is a great gift – and I must tell you that I really am so grateful that you took on this large and far from straightforward task and did it so well.”


Sally Beamish
“Sule Skerrie” for viola and piano

(dedicated to Tabea Zimmermann)
with Hartmut Höll, Piano
Wigmore Hall London


György Ligeti (1991-1994)
Sonata for viola solo

(dedicated to Tabea Zimmermann)

Six weeks training for six movements! Tabea Zimmermann: “The Ligeti Sonata is my very own Himalaya.”


Wilhelm Killmayer (1994)
“Die Schönheit des Morgens” Five Romances for viola and piano

with Siegfried Mauser, Piano


Mark Kopytman (1990)
“Cantus V” for viola and orchestra

WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln


Volker David Kirchner (1989)
“Schibboleth” Poème Concertante for viola and orchestra

Junges Philharmonisches Orchester Stuttgart, Con. Manfred Schreier


Cristóbal Halffter (1984)
Double concerto for violin, viola and orchestra

with Christine Edinger, violin
Con. Cristóbal Halffter


Herbert Söllner
TABEA for viola solo