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Frank Peter Zimmermann (Violin)

Born: February 27, 1965 - Duisburg, Germany

The German violinist, Frank Peter Zimmermann, started playing the violin when he was 5 years old, giving his first concert with orchestra at the age of 10 playing W.A. Mozart's G major Concerto, K. 216. In 1976 he won the Youth Makes Music Competition in Germany. His roster of teachers is impressive: Valery Gradov (at Folkwang Hochschule in Essen), Saschko Gawriloff (at the Berlin Staatliche Hochschule), and Herman Krebbers (private studies in Amsterdam).

In 1983 Zimmermann launched his career, performing in numerous critically acclaimed concerts with all major orchestras in the world, collaborating on these occasions with the world's most renowned conductors. His many concert engagements take him to all major concert venues and international music festivals in Europe, the USA, Japan, South America and Australia. He made his USA debut the following year with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Highlights include engagements with, among others, the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Berglund, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington)/Leonard Slatkin, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck, Berliner Philharmoniker/Bernard Haitink, Philharmonia Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester/Mariss Jansons.

From about the mid-1980's, Frank Peter Zimmermann has been recognized as one of the leading German violinists, not for the usual reasons alone - formidable technical skills and interpretive acumen - but also for his ability to adapt his style to accommodate the demands of a broad range of repertory, from J.S. Bach to contemporary composers. He has expressed a special love for the music of W.A. Mozart and Prokofiev, two composers of obviously disparate styles whose works Zimmermann has performed to international acclaim. He has also played the standard concertos of L.v. Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn, Sibelius, and Igor Stravinsky.

Highlights during the 2002-2003 season include engagements with a.o. the Cleveland Orchestra/Franz Welser-Möst, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov, National Symphony Orchestra Washington/Leonard Slatkin, Philharmonia Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch and Christoph von Dohnányi, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam/Riccardo Chailly, Dresden Staatskapelle/Bernard Haitink, and Orchestre de Paris/Christoph Eschenbach.

Highlights during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons include engagements with a.o. the Berliner Philharmoniker/Bernard Haitink, Wiener Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam/Bernard Haitink, Boston Symphony Orchestra/Christoph von Dohnányi, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez (including a concert at Carnegie Hall, New York), New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Alan Gilbert (including a Far East tour), London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg/Christoph von Dohnányi (including a tour to China), Philharmonia Orchestra/Christoph von Dohnányi, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck, and Dresden Staatskapelle/Fabio Luisi.

In addition, Frank Peter Zimmermann has delved into more adventurous fare, taking on works by Ligeti, Pintscher, and other contemporary composers. He has given world premieres of 3 violin concertos: in February 2003 the violin concerto en sourdine by the German composer Matthias Pintscher with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Péter Eötvös; in 2007 the violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing by Brett Dean, who received the 2009 Grawemeyer Award for this composition, with the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, conducted by the composer; and in January 2009 the Violin Concerto No. 3 Juggler in Paradise by the American composer Augusta Read Thomas with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Andrey Boreyko in Paris.

Also an avid chamber musician and recitalist, Frank Peter Zimmermann gives numerous concerts world-wide. His interpretations of the classical, romantic and 20th Century repertoire are received with great critical acclaim from press and public alike. In the early years of his career Zimmermann regularly collaborated in chamber works with German pianist Alexander Lonquich, but since 1998 he has regularly performed with Italian pianist Enrico Pace. Other regular chamber music partners are the cellist Heinrich Schiff, and the pianists Piotr Anderszewski and Christian Zacharias. In July 2007 he performed a highly acclaimed all-L.v. Beethoven programme with pianist Emanuel Ax at summer festivals in Germany. With pianist Piotr Anderszewski he gave recitals in a.o. Brussels, Munich and various cities in Spain in April 2009. During the 2007-2008-2009 seasons he presented the newly formed string trio, the Trio Zimmermann, with viola player Antoine Tamestit and cellist Christian Poltéra to audiences in a.o. Amsterdam, Antwerp, Cologne, London, Milan, Munich and Paris. His solo and chamber reperoire includes works by J.S. Bach, Debussy, and Ysaÿe, among others.

Frank Peter Zimmermann has recorded virtually all major concerto repertoire for EMI Classics, ranging from J.S. Bach to Weill, as well as many major works for solo violin and for violin and piano. These include the concertos of Piotr Anderszewski,L.v. Beethoven, J. Brahms, Dvorak, Glazunov, F. Mendelssohn, W.A. Mozart, Prokofiev, Ravel (Tzigane), Camille Saint-Saëns No. 3, Sibelius, I. Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Weill. In recital with pianist Alexander Lonquich he recorded all W.A. Mozart and Prokofiev sonatas, a CD with works by Ravel, Debussy and Janacek and a CD with works by composers of the `Groupe des Six'. He made a highly impressive recording of the 6 solo sonatas of Eugène Ysaye. In September 2001 he recorded the violin concerto of Ligeti with the ASKO Ensemble and Reinbert de Leeuw for Teldec Classics, as part of their Ligeti cycle. Among his recordings is an ECM disc released in 2006 that might be viewed as a microcosm of his style and broad tastes: the CD, a collaborative effort with cellist Heinrich Schiff, contains chamber works for violin and cello by J.S. Bach, Arthur Honegger, Martinu, Pintscher, and Ravel. In recent years Sony Classical released a number of new CD recordings: the Tchaikovsky violin concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Manfred Honeck; the Bruch violin concerto No. 1 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Paavo Berglund; the Ferruccio Busoni violin concerto with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI/John Storgards coupled with the F. Busoni violin sonata No. 2 with pianist Enrico Pace; the 6 violin sonatas (BWV 1014-1019) by J.S. Bach, again with Enrico Pace; and - in January 2009 - his recordings of the 2 violin concertos of Szymanowski with the Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra / Antoni Wit and of the Benjamin Britten violin concerto with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck. Many of the above recordings have received prestigious awards and prizes worldwide. His recording of the J. Brahms Double Concerto with Heinrich Schiff won the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis.

Frank Peter Zimmermann He was awarded the ‘Premio del Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena 1990’ and in April 1994 he received the important Rheinischer Kulturpreis 1994. He received in October 2002 the Musikpreis of the city of Duisburg and on January 21, 2008 the “Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse der Bundesrepublik Deutschland”. He plays a Stradivarius from 1711, which once belonged to Fritz Kreisler, and which is kindly sponsored by the Westdeutsche Landesbank.

"Zimmermann was sensational. His performance [ ] was an essay in passion and luminous beauty " - Chicago Tribune
"All his abundant resources of brilliance, precision and imagination go into making music." - The New York Times
"Zimmermann lacks nothing in terms of violinistic ability, but he is unobtrusive in the best sense of the word, which means expressivity comes first, dazzlement later." - The Plain Dealer
"Frank Peter Zimmermann made a slightly tentative first entry but was soon riding the sensuous waves with tremulous sweetness." - The Independent

Source: IMG Artists Website (March 2009); Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra Website; Philharmonia Orchestra Website; Wikipedia Website; All Music Guide Website (Author: Robert Cummings)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2009)

Frank Peter Zimmermann: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Frank Peter Zimmermann (IMG Artists)
Frank Peter Zimmermann (KS Gasteig)
Pittsburgh Symphony: Frank Peter Zimmermann

Philharmonia Orchestra: Frank Peter Zimmermann
Frank Peter Zimmermann (Wikipedia)
Frank Peter Zimmermann (AMG)

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