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THOMAS ZEHETMAIR, born in Salzburg in 1961, comes from a musical family. He studied violin with his father at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and went on to complete his studies with Franz Samohyl, Max Rostal, and Nathan Milstein. In 1978 he won first prize in the International Mozart Competition. In 1977 he made his debut at the age of sixteen at the Salzburg Festival. Two years later his first recording, of works by Mozart, was released.
Zehetmair is a soloist of international standing, and is a regular guest artist with such orchestras as the Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Dresden Staatskapelle , Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Berlin, Vienna, and Munich Philharmonics, as well as the Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestras.
He has worked with Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, Frans Brüggen, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, John Eliot Gardiner, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Heinz Holliger, Roger Norrington, Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and many other leading conductors.
His interest in contemporary music motivates a significant part of his artistic activities. He has given the first performance of several works, most recently the violin concerto by Heinz Holliger. Besides his career as a soloist, Zehetmair also devotes himself to chamber music. In 1997 he founded the Zehetmair Quartet, which tours annually throughout the world.
Zehetmair has recorded all the standard repertoire for violin. His recording of the two Szymanowski violin concertos (EMI), with Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, was awarded the Gramophone Award. He has most recently recorded the Beethoven Violin Concerto and various romances with the Orchestra of the 18th Century under Frans Brüggen.
In addition to his instrumental work, Thomas Zehetmair is launching a second career as a conductor. As guest conductor be has appeared with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Northern Sinfonia, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Beethoven Akademie, O.R.T, Orchestra della Toscana, and the Ensemble Orchestrale Paris, among others. In May 1999 he conducted the Orchestra of the 18th Century on a tour throughout South America.