Tabea Zimmermann is one of the most beloved and renowned artists of our time. As winner of the international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize 2020, artist in residence of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, of the Berliner Philharmoniker and, in the current season, of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tabea Zimmermann is widely acknowledged for her unfailingly high standards and tireless enthusiasm for sharing her love of music with audiences. Fellow musicians and listeners alike value her charismatic personality and deep musical understanding. Her work with orchestras is also guided by the ideals of her experience as a chamber musician, where artistic integrity is paramount.
As a soloist, she regularly works with the most distinguished orchestras worldwide such as the Orchestre de Paris, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. In recent seasons, she has created residency programmes in Weimar, Luxembourg, Hamburg, with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Frankfurt Museum Society and the Festival de Granada; she continues her close collaboration with Ensemble Resonanz, where she was artist-in-residence for two years. Since 2022, she has been the new Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
In addition to her residency with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, highlights of the 2022/2023 season include a tour with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Kirill Petrenko to Salzburg, Lucerne and the BBC Proms. In the chamber music, she will play concerts with students of the Kronberg Academy, duo recitals with Kirill Gerstein and trio concerts with Jörg Widmann and Dénes Várjon as well as at the Kammermusikwoche at Schloss Elmau, which she programmed.
Tabea Zimmermann has inspired numerous composers to write for the viola and 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. 2020 saw her premiering Wolfgang Rihm’s Stabat Mater together with Christian Gerhaher at the Musikfest Berlin and at musica viva, the Bavarian Radio’s concert series for contemporary music; 2022 Mauricio Sotelo’s Cantes antiguos del Flamenco at the Festival de Granada.
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 over 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. On the Harmonia Mundi label, the Arcanto Quartet released CDs of works by Bartók, Brahms, Ravel, Dutilleux, Debussy, Schubert and Mozart. In the year 2020, she released “Cantilena” with the pianist Javier Perianes on harmonia mundi and her second solo CD with works by J.S. Bach und György Kurtág on myrios, in the year 2021, she released works by Enno Poppe with Ensemble Resonanz on wergo as well as by Michael Jarrell, Brett Dean and J.S. Bach on BIS Records.
Tabea Zimmermann’s artistic work has been recognized with numerous awards both in Germany and abroad, most recently in 2020 with the international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize. 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. Under her aegis as chairman of the board of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn (2013-2020), in 2020 the Beethoven-Woche Bonn culminated in an extended three-week festival featuring nearly all of the composer’s chamber music. Since 2013, Tabea Zimmermann has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hindemith Foundation, in November 2022 she was elected President of the Foundation. The performance of Paul Hindemith’s works is especially important to her.
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 Sándor 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 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. Since 2019, she has been playing an instrument built for her by Patrick Robin. She regularly gave concerts together with her husband David Shallon from 1987 until his death in 2000. She has three adult children and lives in Berlin where she held a professor position at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler from 2002 to 2023. Tabea Zimmermann has held teaching posts at the Musikhochschule Saarbrücken and at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Künste Frankfurt, to which she returns in the summer semester of 2023.
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