Tabea Zimmermann
Tabea Zimmermann by Marco Borggreve.jpg
Tabea Zimmermann in 2007
Born (1966-10-08) 8 October 1966 (age 55)
Lahr, Germany
OccupationClassical violist
OrganizationArcanto Quartet
AwardsErnst von Siemens Music Prize

Tabea Zimmermann (born 8 October 1966) is a German violist.

Born in Lahr, she began learning to play the viola at the age of three,[1] and commenced piano studies at age five.[2] At the age of 13, she studied viola with Ulrich Koch at the Conservatory of Freiburg and progressed to study with Sándor Végh at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg.[3][4] She soon gained notice in international competitions, winning first prizes in Genève (1982), Budapest (1984), and the Maurice Vieux International Viola Competition in Paris (1983) for which she was awarded a superb instrument made by contemporary luthier Étienne Vatelot (1980) which she has played in her worldwide concert tours ever since.[4]

As a soloist she has performed with numerous major orchestras, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, under the baton of noted conductors including Kurt Masur, Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and others. In spring 2022, she is the artist-in-residence of the Helsinki Philharmonic.[5]

Zimmermann is likewise actively involved in chamber music, having performed with Gidon Kremer (violin), Heinz Holliger (oboist and composer), Hartmut Höll (piano), Steven Isserlis (cello), Javier Perianes (piano) and Pamela Frank (violin) at numerous festivals. She has devoted a significant part of her chamber career to the Arcanto Quartet, formed with violinists Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.[4]

Highly committed to the 20th and 21st century repertoire, she has attained noted success performing the "Sonata for Solo Viola" written for her by György Ligeti, premiering in 1994.[4] Other contemporary composers who have written works for her include Heinz Holliger, Wolfgang Rihm, Georges Lentz, Bruno Mantovani, Sally Beamish, Enno Poppe and Josef Tal.[4]

Since 2002, Tabea Zimmermann has been a professor of viola and chamber music at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin.[3] Previously she was on the faculty of the Saarbrücken Music Academy (1987–1989) and the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (1994–2002).[4] Her artistic achievements and contributions have garnered her numerous national and international awards, including the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize,[6] Frankfurter Musikpreis, the Hessian Cultural Prize, and the International Prize of the Chigiana Music Academy of Sienna.

Zimmermann is the widow of conductor David Shallon (1950–2000). Her second husband was the American conductor Steven Sloane. She has three children.[7]

She lives in Berlin.[7]


  1. ^ Amling, Ulrich (23 January 2020). "Königin der Bratsche". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Berlin. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Bratschistin Tabea Zimmermann erhält Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. dpa, ale. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Prof. Tabea Zimmermann". Berlin: Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Eggebrecht, Harald (23 January 2020). "Königin der Viola". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Munich. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  5. ^ Liljeroos, Mats (6 February 2022). "Virtuos Bartók à la Zimmermann". Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish). Helsingfors. p. 33.
  6. ^ "Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis an Tabea Zimmermann". neue musikzeitung (in German). Regensburg. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b Schwering, Markus (7 April 2015). "Tabea Zimmermann im Interview "Ich liebe Musik, und ich werde immer etwas finden"". Kölner Stadtanzeiger (in German). Cologne. Retrieved 23 January 2020.

Further reading