Christian Tetzlaff has been one of the most sought-after violinists and most exciting musicians on the classical music scene for many years. “The greatest performance of the work I’ve ever heard,” wrote Tim Ashley (The Guardian, May 2015) of his interpretation of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Daniel Harding.

Concerts with Christian Tetzlaff often become an existential experience for the interpreter and audience alike, old familiar works suddenly appear in a completely new light. In addition, he frequently turns his attention to forgotten masterpieces such as Joseph Joachim’s Violin Concerto, which he successfully championed, or the Violin Concerto No. 22 by Giovanni Battista Viotti, a contemporary of Mozart and Beethoven. To broaden his repertoire, he also commits himself to substantial new works, such as Jörg Widmann’s Violin Concerto, which he premiered in 2013. He has an unusually extensive repertoire and performs approximately 100 concerts every year.

Highlights of the 2021/2022 season include concerts with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, NDR Radiophilharmonie and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester. In autumn 2021 he will be touring with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach and will be soloist in the Haydn2032 project of the Kammerorchester Basel under the baton of Giovanni Antonini. He also performs several duo recitals with pianist Lars Vogt at the Rheingau Music Festival, MDR Musiksommer, Festival International de Musique de Menton, Weilburger Schlosskonzerte and the Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker. Further duo concerts with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will follow, including the Boulez Saal Berlin, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées as well as the Moscow State Philharmonic Society.

Christian Tetzlaff is regularly invited as Artist in Residence to present his musical views over a longer period of time, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic. In the 2021/2022 season, he will have this honour at London’s Wigmore Hall. The residency with the London Symphony Orchestra, originally planned for the 2020/2021 season, will probably be postponed to 2022/2023.

Throughout his career Christian Tetzlaff has appeared with all the major orchestras, including the Wiener Philharmoniker, the New York Philharmonic, the Concertgebouworkest and all of London’s leading orchestras. He has worked with conductors including Sergiu Celibidache, Bernard Haitink, Lorin Maazel and Kurt Masur and more recently with Barbara Hannigan, Christoph von Dohnányi, Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Andris Nelsons, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Michael Tilson Thomas, to name but a few.

Christian Tetzlaff founded his own string quartet in 1994, and to this day chamber music is as close to his heart as his work as a soloist with or without orchestra. Every year he undertakes at least one extensive tour with the Tetzlaff Quartett, including the 2021/2022 season with concerts at the Kölner Philharmonie and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, among others, as well as a US tour including Carnegie Hall. The Tetzlaff Quartett was awarded the Diapason d’or in 2015 and the trio with his sister Tanja Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt was nominated for a Grammy award in 2016.

Christian Tetzlaff has also received numerous prizes for his CD recordings, including the “Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik” and the “Diapason d’or” in 2018 as well as the Midem Classical Award in 2017. Of special significance is his solo recording of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, which he has recorded for the third time and was released in September 2017. The Strad magazine praised this recording as “an attentive and lively answer to the beauty of Bach’s solos”. Most recently, a recording of the violin concertos by Beethoven and Sibelius with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Robin Ticciati was released on Ondine in autumn 2019 and has been enthusiastically received by both the press and the public.

Born in Hamburg in 1966 and now living in Berlin with his family, there are three things that make this musician unique, aside from his astounding skill on the violin. He interprets the musical manuscript in a literal fashion, perceives music as a language, and reads the great works as narratives that reflect existential insights. As obvious as it may sound, he brings an unusual approach in his daily concert routine.

Christian Tetzlaff tries to fulfill the musical text as deeply as possible – without indulging in the usual technical short-cuts on the violin – often allowing a renewed clarity and richness to arise in well-known works. As a violinist Tetzlaff tries to disappear behind the work – and paradoxically this makes his interpretations very personal.

Secondly, Christian Tetzlaff “speaks” through his violin. Like human speech, his playing comprises a wide range of expressive means and is not aimed solely at achieving harmoniousness or virtuosic brilliance.

Above all, however, he interprets the masterpieces of musical history as stories about first-hand experiences. The great composers have focused on intense feelings, great happiness and deep crises in their music; Christian Tetzlaff, as a musician, also explores the limits of feelings and musical expression. Many pieces deal with nothing less than life and death. Christian Tetzlaff’s aim is to convey this to his audience.

Significantly, Tetzlaff played in youth orchestras for many years. In Uwe-Martin Haiberg at the Lübeck Music Academy, he had a teacher for whom musical interpretation was the key to mastering violin technique, rather than the other way round.

Christian Tetzlaff plays a violin by the German violin maker Peter Greiner and teaches regularly at the Kronberg Academy.

He lives in Berlin with his wife, the photographer Giorgia Bertazzi, and three children.