Thomas Zehetmair


Thomas Zehetmair is one of today’s most outstanding artistic personalities. As solo violinist as well as conductor and chamber musician Zehetmair is highly regarded worldwide for his nuanced performances. He is Music Director of the Northern Sinfonia in England, Artistic Partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, USA. At the beginning  of the 2012/13 season he was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris (formerly Ensemble Orchestral de Paris). Concert tours with the Northern Sinfonia have led him to the Hong Kong Festival, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Germany.

Zehetmair has directed the Northern Sinfonia in numerous successful recordings including: Brahms’ Violin concerto and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 with Zehetmair in double function as soloist and conductor, Sibelius’ Symphonies 3 and 6, Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Schubert’s Symphony No. 6 and Gál’s Symphony No. 1, and most recently Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Gal’s Symphony No. 2. On the NMC label Zehetmair and the Northern Sinfonia were joined by Sandrine Piau with whom they collaborated on ‘Unknown Britten’. Zehetmair has recorded nearly the entire violin repertoire and a number of his CDs have received multiple awards. His latest releases include B. A. Zimmermann’s “Canto di speranza” with the WDR Symphony Orchestra under Heinz Holliger (“Diapason d’Or de l’Année”), the 24 Capricci by Paganini (honorary list of the German Record Critics’ Award, Midem Classic Award 2010), Elgar’s Violin concerto with the Hallé Orchestra under Mark Elder (Gramophone Award 2010) as well as Mozart’s Violin concertos with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under Frans Brüggen, referred to as a reference recording. Most recently, in March 2011, ECM published the recording “Manto and Madrigal” on which Thomas Zehetmair and his duo partner Ruth Killius explore modern and contemporary repertoire for violin and viola.

Zehetmair is in demand as a guest conductor with orchestras such as the Hungarian National Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra Warsaw, Hallé Orchestra Manchester, Camerata Salzburg, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra Munich, Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the Orchestre National de Lyon.

During the 2013-14 season alongside his continuing commitments to the Northern Sinfonia and St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Zehetmair has an international schedule of engagements as both conductor and violinist: he will appear with English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Chambre de Paris, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Hamburg Philharmonic. Zehetmair’s dual career as a violinist will see him give a number of recitals during the season, including appearances at Musikkollegium Winterthur and Wigmore Hall. Zehetmair will also appear with the eponymous Zehetmair Quartet; in Germany, Vienna, Monaco, Switzerland, The Netherlands and The USA.

In 2005, Thomas Zehetmair was honoured with the German Record Critics’ Award for his versatile artistic work as soloist, conductor and chamber musician. In 2007 he was awarded the “Karl-Böhm Interpretation Award” of the Austrian State Steiermark during a ceremony at Graz Castle. The laudation was presented by Heinz Holliger. Thomas Zehetmair holds honorary doctorates from the Music Academy Franz Liszt in Weimar and Newcastle University, UK.
For further information about Thomas Zehetmair's projects with the Northern Sinfonia please visit the


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    Violin Concerto



St Paul Chamber Orchestra

Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata

"In the orchestral opening, a cascade of ravishing melodies, Zehetmair and Killius played as members of the ensemble, their backs to the audience, until they turned around and dazzled... Zehetmair conducted with obvious affection for this music and he weaved the symphony into a delicious confection."

Star Tribune, 18 May 2013

Concert April 2012

St Paul Chamber Orchestra

"Under Zehetmair, the orchestra sounded at its best, playing with precision and passion, rising to a mighty apotheosis in the finale."


Mineapolis Star Tribune, 6 April 2012

Concert April 2012

Northern Sinfonia. The Sage Gateshead.

"it was a true celebration of both Zehetmair’s instinctive understanding of Schubert, and the intimate and creative energies that he has kindled within the ensemble...the opening movement was played out with a hushed and sustained reticence, as though each player were confiding one with the other, with their conductor, and with us". The Times, 29 April 2012

Concert December 2011

Northern Sinfonia. The Sage Gateshead.

"Zehetmair's approach to Schubert's Third is infused with wonder...The details are dazzling, violas and second violins giddy in the teeth-chattering quavers of the last Allegro, the intelligence and wit of the cello section captivating throughout."

The Independent on Sunday, 11 December 2011.

Concert June 2011

St Paul Chamber Orchestra

"An overdue concerto performance came on a gripping, haunting work by Karl Amadeus Hartmann, a 20th-century German composer who packed much of his sadness and anger at the Nazi government into his "Concerto funebre." It proved a tour de force for Zehetmair, especially during an aggressive, panic-laden third movement and a closing Chorale that sang out like the saddest soprano aria that you've ever heard in an opera house."

Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press, 15 June 2011.


Concerto Funèbre

St Paul Chamber Orchestra

"Artistic Partner Thomas Zehetmair conducted with passion, driving the music dramatically, creating a sense of devastation and mourning in the orchestra's dissonances. As soloist, he made the most of the violin's anguished utterances in his raw, uninhibited playing." 

William Randall Beard, Star Tribune, June 10, 2011.