Christian Tetzlaff is internationally recognized as one of the most important violinists of his generation. His musical integrity, technical assurance and intelligent, compelling interpretations have set the standards to which violin performances are measured. In honor of his artistic achievements, Musical America named Mr. Tetzlaff "Instrumentalist of the Year" in 2005.

From the outset of his career, Mr. Tetzlaff has performed and recorded a broad spectrum of the repertoire, ranging from Bach's unaccompanied sonatas and partitas to 19th century masterworks by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and Brahms; and from 20th century concertos by Bartók, Berg, and Shostakovich to world premieres of contemporary works. Also a dedicated chamber musician, he frequently collaborates with distinguished artists including Leif Ove Andsnes, Lars Vogt, Alexander Lonquich and Tabea Zimmermann and is the founder of the Tetzlaff Quartet, which he formed in 1994 with violinist Elisabeth Kufferath, violist Hanna Weinmeister and his sister, cellist Tanja Tetzlaff.

Born in Hamburg in 1966, music occupied a central place in his family and his three siblings are all professional musicians. Mr. Tetzlaff began playing the violin and piano at age six, but pursued a regular academic education while continuing his musical studies. He did not begin intensive study of the violin until making his concert debut playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto at the age of 14 and attributes the establishment of his musical outlook to his teacher at the conservatory in Lübeck, Uwe-Martin Haiberg, who placed equal stress on interpretation and technique. Mr. Tetzlaff came to the United States during the 1985-86 academic year to work with Walter Levine at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and also spent two summers at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont.

Mr. Tetzlaff has been in demand as a soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras and conductors, establishing close artistic partnerships that are renewed season after season. In North America Mr. Tetzlaff has performed with the orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Toronto, among many others; and with the major European ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Vienna Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

Christian Tetzlaff’s 2008-09 North American season opens with a performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra led by James Levine at Carnegie Hall. The season continues with appearances with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati and Houston symphonies, and the North American premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s Violin Concerto “Mambo, Blues and Tarantella” with the Toronto Symphony. Turnage’s concerto, written for Mr. Tetzlaff, receives its world premiere with the London Philharmonic in September. He also plays all-Bach recitals in five US cities including Philadelphia, Detroit and Santa Barbara; duo recitals with Leif Ove Andsnes in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Boston, Princeton and New York; and performs with the Tetzlaff Quartet, making its North American debut, in Washington, DC, Atlanta and New York.

Mr. Tetzlaff's highly regarded recordings reflect the breadth of his musical interests. They include concertos ranging from Haydn to Bartók, an album of 20th century sonatas by Janácek, Debussy, Ravel and Nielsen with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, the complete works for violin and orchestra of Jean Sibelius with the Danish National Radio Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard, which won the prestigious Diapason d'or, and a Grammy-nominated album of Bartók's Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 with Leif Ove Andsnes and the Bartók Sonata for Solo Violin, all on Virgin Classics; the Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano with Lars Vogt for EMI Classics; the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Russian National Orchestra and Kent Nagano for PentaTone Classics; and the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Tonhalle Orchestra and David Zinman for Arte Nova. His most recent releases are the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin on the Musical Heritage and Haenssler labels and the Brahms and Joachim Violin Concertos with the Danish Radio Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard for Virgin Classics.

Christian Tetzlaff makes his home near Frankfurt with his wife, a clarinetist with the Frankfurt Opera, and their three children. He currently performs on a violin modeled after a Guarneri del Gesu made by the German violin maker, Peter Greiner.

This biography was most recently edited by...
maestro - 15 May 2009