Violin & Conductors

Thomas Zehetmair

Chief Conductor, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
Principal Conductor, Musikkollegium Winterthur
Artistic Partner, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Conductor Laureate, Royal Northern Sinfonia

©Wolfgang Schmidt


Thomas Zehetmair enjoys enviable international acclaim not only as a violinist, but also as a conductor and chamber musician. He is Chief Conductor of Stuttgarter Kammerorchester and Musikkollegium Winterthur.

Zehetmair has appeared as a conductor and violinist with orchestras including Seattle Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Eighteenth-Century, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Hamburger Philharmoniker. He was Chief Conductor of Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Artistic Partner of St. Paul’s Chamber Orchestra and Music Director of Royal Northern Sinfonia with whom he continues his association as Conductor Laureate.
In the 20/21 season, Zehetmair conducts the Russian National Youth Symphony Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and returns to Royal Northern Sinfonia and Irish Chamber Orchestra. He is soloist with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony (Weigle), gives a solo recital at Toppan Hall Tokyo and performs with Zehetmair Quartet in Amsterdam, Germany and the UK.

Thomas Zehetmair has an extensive and varied discography as a violinist, conductor and with the Zehetmair Quartet. His recording of the Paganini Caprices attracted a Midem Classic Award and his rendition of the Elgar Concerto with the Hallé Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder received a Gramophone Award in 2010. Recent recordings include Brahms Four Symphonies and Bruckner Symphony No.3 with Musikkollegium Winterthur.  His latest CD release is Bach Six Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, selected by the New York Times as one of “The 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2019”, named by Die Zeit as one of their favourite recordings of 2019 and winner of the Opus Klassik 2020 for the best solo recording.


“A virtuoso technique married to a musical mind that won’t take anything for granted. Zehetmair seems to find answers where other musicians don’t even see questions …” Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3


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    J.S Bach: The sonatas and Partitas for solo violin

    Label: ECM

    Release Date: 15 Nov 19

    The complete sonatas and partitas  BWV 1001-1006

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    SCHUMANN Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 1 & Phantasie

    Release Date: 18 Mar 16

    Violin Concerto WoO 23
    Symphony No. 1 ‘Spring’ op. 38
    Phantasie for Violin and Orchestra op. 131

    Orchestre de chambre de Paris

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    Mendelssohn Symphonies No.1 & No.5

    Release Date: 01 Aug 13

    Musikkollegium Winterhur

    Symphony No. 1 op. 11 MWV N 13 C minor
    Symphony No. 5 op. 107 MWV N 15 “Reformation” D major

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    Franz Schubert & Hans Gàl 'Kindred Spirits'

    Release Date: 01 Nov 11

    With Northern Sinfonia

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    Stravinsky Violin Concertos, Sibelius Symphonies 3 & 6

    Release Date: 17 May 09

    Sibelius Symphony No 3 Op 52 C Major
    Strawinsky Concert for violin and orchestra D Major
    Sibelius Symphony No 6 Op 104 D Minor
    Soloist and conductor: Thomas Zehetmair
    With Northern Sinfonia

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    Brahms Violin Concerto, Schumann Symphony No 4

    Release Date: 01 Dec 08

    Brahms Concert for violin and orchestra Op 77 in D Major
    Schumann Symphony No 4 in D Minor
    Soloist and conductor: Thomas Zehetmair
    With Northern Sinfonia

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    11 Jun 17 St Paul Chamber Orchestra

    “Thomas Zehetmair might have been born to conduct Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony: His wiry dynamism is perfectly suited to its teemingly bacchanalian energies…The concert opened with Mendelssohn’s Overture “The Fair Melusina.” In Zehetmair’s intense conception, this emerged as a mini-drama of contending emotions, the gently rippling figurations of the water sprite offsetting the bluntly priapic music of the knight she fatefully marries.”
    Star Tribune

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    18 Mar 16 SCHUMANN Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 1 & Phantasie
    CD with Orchestre de chambre de Paris

    “Schumann’s Violin Concerto has a tricky history. It was composed in 1853 but deemed so weird at the time that it wasn’t performed until 1937, when it was hijacked for Nazi propaganda. Nowadays, advocates such as Thomas Zehetmair give the troubled and soulful piece the love it deserves. He first recorded it for Teldec in 1988 and recently helped prepare a new urtext edition – sorting out centuries of editorial meddling. His new account is warmer, more declamatory, more openly glorious in lyrical passages.”
    Kate Molleson, The Guardian, 24 March 2016 

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    17 May 13 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

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    01 Apr 12 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

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    01 Mar 12 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

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    01 Dec 11 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.

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    01 Jul 11 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.

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    01 Jun 11 HARTMANN 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.