Christian Tetzlaff is internationally recognized as one of the most important violinists of his generation. The distinctive character of his artistry stems from an unassailable musical integrity and disciplined technique that enables him to brilliantly realize his expressive intentions, yielding highly individual, compelling interpretations. 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; from 20th century concertos by Bartók, Berg, and Stravinsky to world premieres of contemporary works. Since his performances of the Schoenberg Violin Concerto that brought him to international attention at age twenty-two — with Christoph von Dohnányi and The Cleveland Orchestra and with Sergiu Celibidache and the Munich Philharmonic-- Mr. Tetzlaff has been recognized for his playing of the less frequently-heard areas of the literature. Nonetheless, he considers Mozart and Brahms to be just as central and challenging to his musical development. Mr. Tetzlaff is also dedicated to chamber music and frequently collaborates with distinguished artists including Leif Ove Andsnes, Lars Vogt, Sabine Meyer, Heinrich Schiff and Tabea Zimmermann.
Born in Hamburg in 1966 to a minister's family in which music occupied a central place, his three siblings are all professional musicians. He frequently performs with his sister Tanja, a cellist. 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 the age of 14, making his concert debut playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto, 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 Festival in Vermont.
Mr. Tetzlaff has been in demand as a soloist with many of the world's leading ensembles and conductors, establishing close artistic partnerships that are renewed season after season. In North America, Mr. Tetzlaff has appeared with the orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Minnesota, New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Toronto, among many others. He has performed with major European ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Highlights of Mr. Tetzlaff's 06/07 season include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Boston, New World and Indianapolis symphonies and the San Francisco Symphony both in San Francisco and at the Lucerne Festival, as well as with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a tour of Germany with the Helsinki Philharmonic and playing all ten Beethoven Sonatas at London's Wigmore Hall with pianist Alexander Lonquich.
Mr. Tetzlaff's highly regarded recordings for Virgin Classics 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; a recording of Mozart's complete works for violin and orchestra in which he is heard as both soloist and conductor with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie; and 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. Mr. Tetzlaff's most recent releases include the Brahms Sonatas for Piano and Violin with Lars Vogt on EMI Classics, a Grammy-nominated album of Bartók's Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 (with Leif Ove Andsnes) and Bartók's Sonata for Solo Violin on Virgin Classics and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Russian National Orchestra and Kent Nagano for PentaTone Classics. His next releases are a new recording of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin on the Musical Heritage and Haenssler labels and a recording of the Brahms and Joachim violin concertos with the Danish Radio Orchestra for Virgin.
Christian Tetzlaff currently performs on a violin made by the German violin maker, Peter Greiner, modeled after a Guarneri del Gesu.
Posted Aug. 2006