Thomas Zehetmair

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Thomas Zehetmair (born November 23, 1961 in Salzburg ) is an Austrian violinist and conductor .


Zehetmair studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and took master classes with Franz Samohyl , Max Rostal and Nathan Milstein . In 1977 he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival , in 1978 he won first prize at the International Mozart Competition of the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the following year he made his debut in the Great Music Association Hall of the Vienna Music Association .

The soloist

In addition to the works of the classical-romantic violin repertoire, Zehetmair also deals intensively with compositions of contemporary music. The pieces of music that he premiered include violin concertos by James Dillon , Carlos Veerhoff and Hans-Jürgen von Bose, as well as the violin concerto dedicated to him by Heinz Holliger . His interpretation of works of classical modernism also found great recognition. B. Alban Berg's Violin Concerto or the Concerto funebre by Karl Amadeus Hartmann . Thomas Zehetmair is a regular guest with the leading orchestras in Europe and America and has given concerts under the direction of conductors such as Daniel Barenboim , Christoph von Dohnányi , Sir John Eliot Gardiner , Nikolaus Harnoncourt , Sir Charles Mackerras , Kent Nagano , Sir Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen .

The conductor

For more than twenty years, Thomas Zehetmair has also been on the conducting podiums of international orchestras. a. Guest conductor of the Camerata Salzburg , the Hungarian National Orchestra , the London Philharmonic Orchestra , the Bamberg Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra . Since 2002 he has held the post of chief conductor of the Northern Sinfonia in England and is Artistic Partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the USA. In summer 2011, Thomas Zehetmair made his conducting debut at the Salzburg Festival. Since the 2012/13 season he has also held the position of chief conductor of the Orchester de chambre de Paris . Zehetmair has been chief conductor of the Musikkollegium Winterthur since the 2016/17 season, and chief conductor of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra from the beginning of the 2019/20 season .

The chamber musician

As an active chamber musician, Thomas Zehetmair also works with various chamber music ensembles, including a. as a partner of Alfred Brendel and Heinrich Schiff . In 1994 he founded his own ensemble, the Zehetmair Quartet , which has now established itself among the world's top string quartets. Its highlights include a concert cycle at Wigmore Hall (2007/2008) in which the ensemble performed all of Schumann's string quartets, the world premiere of Heinz Holliger's String Quartet No. 2 in the Cologne Philharmonic (2008) and a concert in New York on the occasion of the festivities on Elliott Carter's 100th birthday (April 2009). The Zehetmair Quartet's recordings of Bartók's, Hartmann's and Schumann's works are also award-winning.

On the fringes of his concert appearances, Thomas Zehetmair's work is determined by a lively recording activity: Thomas Zehetmair has recorded most of the violin repertoire, many of his publications have received multiple awards (3 Gramophone Awards, 3 Diapason d'Année and 2 Midem Awards, German Record Critics ' Award ).

Recent recordings include Bernd Alois Zimmermann's violin concerto with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne under Heinz Holliger's direction (Diapason d'Or de l'Année), the 24 Paganini caprices (best list of the German Record Critics' list, Midem Classic Award 2010) and Mozart's violin concertos with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under Frans Brüggen , which are referred to as reference recordings. In March 2011 ECM also released the recording Manto and Madrigals , on which Thomas Zehetmair and his duo partner Ruth Killius undertake a journey through the modern and contemporary repertoire for violin and viola. An early highlight of his recording career is the recording of the Kreutzer Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven with Malcolm Frager .

Occasionally the artist also takes up the viola , for example in the recording of the fairy tale pictures by Robert Schumann with the pianist Cyprien Katsaris .


In 1992 the artist received the renowned CD award “Wiener Flötenuhr” for his outstanding Mozart interpretations. In 1997 Thomas Zehetmair received a Gramophone Award for recording Karol Szymanowski's violin concertos with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle's direction . Two more Gramophone Awards followed with Robert Schumann's string quartets with the Zehetmair Quartet (2003, Record of the Year) and Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto with the Hallé Orchestra Manchester under Mark Elder (2010). In 2005 Thomas Zehetmair received the certificate of honor of the German Record Critics' Award for his diverse artistic activities as a soloist, conductor and chamber musician . In 2007, the state of Styria awarded him the Karl Böhm Interpretation Prize . He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the Liszt School of Music in Weimar.


Berlin Classics - Edel Company

  • Vivaldi Le quattro stagioni - La tempesta di Mare, Camerata Bern, Berlin Classics - Edel Company, Ed BC 0011842, 1996, Camerata Bern, Thomas Zehetmair (soloist and conductor)
  • Béla Bartók, Violin Concertos No. 1 and 2, Berlin Classics - Edel Company, Ed BC 1134-2, 2010, Thomas Zehetmair (violin) Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer
  • JS Bach, violin concertos BWV 1042, 1041, 1052, 1056, Berlin Classics - Edel Company BC 1114-2, 2008, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Amsterdam Bach soloists

ECM Records GmbH

  • Transfigured Night, ECM Records Publishing House; Berlin: Universal Music (ECM New Series 1714), 1995/1999, Thomas Zehetmair (violin, conductor), Camerata Bern
  • Karl Amadeus Hartmann / Béla Bartók, ECM Records Publishing House; Berlin: Universal Music (ECM New Series 1727), 2001, Zehetmair Quartet
  • Heinz Holliger: Violin Concerto, ECM-Records-Verlag; Berlin: Universal Music (ECM New Series 1890), 2002, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), SWR Sinfonieorchester, Heinz Holliger
  • Robert Schumann, ECM Records Verlag; Berlin: Universal Music (ECM New Series 1793), 2003, Zehetmair Quartet
  • Lauds and lamentations, Graefelfing: ECM-Records-Verlag; Berlin: Universal Music, 2003, (2 CD), Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Ruth Killius (viola), Thomas Demenga (violoncello)
  • Eugène Ysaye: Sonates pour violon solo, Graefelfing: ECM-Records-Verlag; Berlin: Universal Music, 2004, Thomas Zehetmair (violin)
  • Béla Bartók / Paul Hindemith, ECM Records Verlag; Berlin: Universal Music (ECM New Series 1874), 2007, Zehetmair Quartet
  • Bernd Alois Zimmerman: Canto Di Speranza, ECM Records Publishing House; Berlin: Universal Music (ECM 4766885), 2009, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Thomas Demenga (cello), Gerd Böckmann (speaker), Robert Hunger-Bühler (speaker), Andreas Schmidt (bass), WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Heinz Holliger
  • Niccolo Paganini: 24 Capricci for violin solo, ECM-Records-Verlag; Berlin: Universal Music (ECM New Series 2124-4763318), Thomas Zehetmair (violin)
  • Manto and madrigals, Graefelfing: ECM-Records-Verlag; Berlin: Universal Music, Distribution, P 2011, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Ruth Killius (viola)

EMI Classics

  • Szymanowski, EMI Classics (EMI) 07243 5556072, 1996, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Silke Avenhaus (piano), City of Birmingham Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Violin Concerts No. 1–5, Sinfonia Concertante, Glossa (GCD 921108), 2009, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Ruth Killius (viola), Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, conductor: Frans Brüggen, live recordings from Brazil and the Netherlands

Hallé Concerts Society

  • Edward Elgar, Violin Concerto, 2010, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Hallé Orchestra Manchester, Sir Mark Elder

Philips Classics

  • Oboe concerts by Johann Sebastian Bach and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Philips (Universal), 1998, Camerata Bern, Heinz Holliger (oboe and conductor)
  • Schubert Trout Quintet, Philips Universal (446 001-2), 1995, Thomas Zehetmair, Tabea Zimmermann (violin), Richard Duven (violoncello) and Peter Riegelbauer (double bass), Alfred Brendel (piano)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, violin concerto, violin romances No. 1 and 2, Philips Universal 02894 6212325, 2009, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Orchestra of the 18th Century, Frans Brüggen

Teldec Classics / Warner Classics

  • Violin concertos by Berg, Janáček and Hartmann, Teldec (Warner), 2292-46449-2, 1997, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Philharmonia Orchestra, Heinz Holliger
  • Dvořák / Schumann, violin concertos, Teldec (Warner), 2292-46328-2, 2000, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Philharmonia Orchestra London, Eliahu Inbal
  • Schönberg / Berg, Teldec (Warner), 2292-46019-2, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Oleg Maisenberg (piano), Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Heinz Holliger
  • Thomas Zehetmair - The Complete Teldec Recordings, Teldec (Warner), 2010 (1980–1993), Thomas Zehetmair (violin) and others
  • Brahms Violin Concerto, Teldec (Warner), 2007, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Cleveland Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnányi
  • Sibelius, Violin Concerto, Eastwest (Warner), 9031 74784-2, 1991, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Kurt Masur
  • Joseph Haydn / Michael Haydn, Violin Concertos in C major and B major, Teldec 6 42917 AZ, 1983, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Zehetmair (violin and conductor)
  • JS Bach, Sonatas & Partitas for violin solo, Teldec (Warner), 63984 2103527, 2007, Thomas Zehetmair (violin)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Violin Sonatas, Teldec (Warner), 9031-75856-2 ZS, 2000, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Malcolm Frager (piano)
  • L. v. Beethoven / WA Mozart / F. Schubert, Violin Concerto, Romance and Adagio, Teldec (Warner) 2292-46448-2, 1998, Thomas Zehetmair (violin and conductor), Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Duos for Violin and Viola, Teldec (Warner), 2292-44192-2, 1992, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Tabea Zimmermann (viola)
  • Paganini, 24 Caprices, Erato (Warner) 9031-76259-2, 2008, Thomas Zehetmair (violin)
  • Schumann, Fantasy op.131, Teldec (Warner), 131 2292-44190-2, 2007, Thomas Zehetmair (violin) Philharmonia Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach
  • Harnoncourt conducts Mozart, “Haffner” serenade KV 250, Teldec (Warner), 2292-43040-2, 1986, Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Staatskapelle Dresden, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • Mozart, The Violin Concertos, Teldec (Warner), 2292-46340-2, 2007, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Thomas Zehetmair (violin and conductor)

Recordings as a conductor

AVIE Records

  • Brahms, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra / Schumann, Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Avie Records, AV 2125, 2007, Northern Sinfonia, Thomas Zehetmair (violin and conductor)
  • I. Stravinsky, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major / J. Sibelius, Symphony No. 3 Symphony No. 6, Avie Records, 2009, Northern Sinfonia, Thomas Zehetmair (violin and conductor)
  • Franz Schubert Symphony No. 6 / Hans Gal Symphony No. 1: Kindred Spirits, Avie (Musikwelt Tonträger e.Kfr.), 2011, Thomas Zehetmair (conductor), Northern Sinfonia
  • Franz Schubert Symphony No. 9 / Hans Gal Symphony No. 9: Kindred Spirits, Avie (Musikwelt Tonträger e.Kfr.), 2012, Thomas Zehetmair (conductor), Northern Sinfonia

NMC recordings

  • Unknown Britten, NMC Recordings, 2009, Sandrine Piau, Michael Collins, Rolf Hind, Northern Sinfonia, Thomas Zehetmair


  • Joachim W. Hartnack, great violinist of our time, 4th, revised. u. supplemented new edition 1993, ISBN 978-3-254-00171-9
  • Urs Frauchiger, Your own tone. Conversations about the art of violin playing, Ammann Verlag 2000, ISBN 978-3-250-30003-8

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