Tabea Zimmermann

Artist in Residence 2020/21

Unlike the violin, piano or cello, the viola is not an instrument of soloists. But Tabea Zimmermann has made a global career with it. The native of Baden-Württemberg has been at home on international concert stages for more than thirty years. She made her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker with Bartók’s Viola Concerto in 1992 and has always earned the highest recognition as an interpreter of uncompromising standards, a dedicated professor at the Hanns Eisler School of Music and a passionate advocate of contemporary music. In 2020 she was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, one of classical music’s most prestigious international awards. In 2020, she received the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, the foremost award in international musical life - a sign of appreciation for her great artistic achievement. The secret to her success is her irrepressible joy in playing and technical virtuosity, paired with the drive to constantly expand her own expressive possibilities.


3 questions for Tabea Zimmermann

In the 2020/21 season, the Berliner Philharmoniker made Tabea Zimmermann their Artist in Residence, and to mark her appointment, we took this opportunity to ask the musician why, of all instruments, she chose the viola:
I came to the viola, so to speak, through sibling succession, as my older siblings already played the violin and the cello. I identified very early on with the viola’s pitch and its many and varied functions. The tonal possibilities and the many roles I can slip into enrich my life daily.

The viola is the instrument of the middle. In an ensemble it creates the connection between the high and low strings. In what way does this intermediary position also influence your musical attitude in solo performances?
I consider it the greatest gift that I was able to discover my love for music with and through chamber music. Together with my viola I have learned to place each note in relation to other notes and people. You have been working together with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 1992. This season you are the orchestra’s artist in residence.

What does this residency mean to you?
A dream come true! I admire the orchestra and am really looking forward to the different opportunities to make music together. Above all, I am looking forward to getting to know a little better the people who make up this orchestra, and to exchange ideas about music with them.

Explore further