Tabea Zimmermann


Photo : Marco Borggreve

Tabea Zimmermann, who considers herself “a musician, who happens to play the viola”, is one of the most popular 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 in the season of 2019/2020 and of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2020/2021, Tabea Zimmermann is widely acknowledged for her tireless enthusiasm to communicate her love of music to her audience and her uncompromisingly high standard of quality. Audiences and fellow musicians 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 performs with the most distinguished orchestras worldwide. Following residencies in Weimar, Luxembourg, Hamburg, with the Frankfurter Museums-Gesellschaft and the Bamberg Symphony, Tabea Zimmermann was artist-in-residence with the Ensemble Resonanz in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

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. Her Cantilena CD with the Spanish pianist Javier Perianes was recently released on the harmonia mundi label. 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. Her recording of solo works by Reger and Bach with myrios received an Echo Klassik prize as Instrumentalist of the Year in 2009. The year 2020 will see several new releases on myrios, including a second solo CD.

Tabea Zimmermann’s artistic work has been recognized with numerous awards both in Germany and abroad, including 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 2013 Tabea Zimmermann is a foundation board member of the Hindemith Foundation. Under her aegis as chairman of the board of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn (2013-2020), the Beethoven-Woche Bonn culminated 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. In the beginning, she received significant inspiration from her first teacher Dietmar Mantel. She studied with Ulrich Koch at the Musikhochschule Freiburg and subsequently with Sandor 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, the 1983 Maurice Vieux Competition in Paris and the 1984 Budapest International Competition. She has been playing an instrument built for her by Patrick Robin since 2019. From 1987 until his early death in 2000, Tabea Zimmermann regularly performed with her husband, the conductor David Shallon. She lives in Berlin and has three almost grown-up 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’.