An artist known for his musical integrity, technical assurance and intelligent, compelling interpretations, CHRISTIAN TETZLAFF has been internationally recognized as one of the most sought-after violinists and exciting musicians on the classical music scene for many years.
From the outset of his career, 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 and Lars Vogt, 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.
Christian Tetzlaff has been in demand as a soloist with most of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, establishing close artistic partnerships that are renewed season after season. He has performed with the orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Montreal, and Toronto, among many others in North America, as well as with the major European ensembles including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, London Symphony and London Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. He also appears at the world’s most prominent summer music festivals, including Verbier, Salzburg, Tanglewood, and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.
During the 2016/17 season, Tetzlaff travels to and performs on four continents. Highlights of his U.S. season include re-engagements with the Chicago and New World Symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Met Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and recital tours with pianist Lars Vogt and violinist Pamela Frank. Internationally, he works with orchestras in London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Sydney, among others; appears with the Tetzlaff Quartet and in trio performances with cellist Tanja Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, and Leipzig; tours Germany with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie as both soloist and leader; and is the featured soloist on an Asian tour with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Tetzlaff’s highly regarded recordings reflect the breadth of his musical interests and include solo works, chamber music, and concertos ranging from Haydn to Bartók. His recordings include the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin for the Musical Heritage and Haenssler labels; Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Vienna Philharmonic/Pierre Boulez for Deutsche Grammophon; the Schumann and Mendelssohn Violin Concertos with Frankfurt Radio Orchestra/Paavo Järvi for Edel Classics; Jorg Widmann’s Violin Concerto, written for Tetzlaff, with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding for Ondine; and the Berg Lyric Suite and Mendelssohn Quartet Op. 13 with the Tetzlaff Quartet for the CAvi label. His most recent recordings, all on the Ondine label, are the Dvorˇák, Suk, and two Shostakovich violin concertos with the Helsinki Philharmonic/John Storgaards; the Brahms Violin Sonatas with Lars Vogt and the Brahms Piano Trios with Tanja Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt, which was nominated for a 2016 Grammy; and quartets by Berg and Mendelssohn with the Tetzlaff Quartet, which was awarded a 2015 Diapason d’Or. Tetzlaff recorded the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for a third time in October 2016.
He was born in Hamburg in 1966, and music occupied a central place in his family and his three siblings are all professional musicians. 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, for whom musical interpretation was the key to violin technique – not the other way around. 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.
Christian Tetzlaff currently performs on a violin modeled after a Guarneri del Gesù made by the German violin maker, Peter Greiner.