Thomas Zehetmair – Wikipedia

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Austrian violinist and conductor

Thomas Zehetmair (born 23 November 1961) is an Austrian violinist and conductor.


Zehetmair was born in Salzburg, and studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum, where both of his parents taught. His festival debut was at age 16.[1] He was in master classes with Nathan Milstein and Max Rostal.[2]

In 1994, Zehetmair formed a string quartet which bears his name. The Zehetmair Quartet performs all works entirely from memory, and learns one new programme a year.[3] Zehetmair has made several recordings for ECM, both as soloist and with his quartet.[2][4]

Zehetmair later developed a parallel career in conducting. In November 2001, he was named Music Director and chief conductor of the Northern Sinfonia (now the Royal Northern Sinfonia), his first conducting post, starting with the 2002–2003 season, for an initial contract of 3 years and 6 weeks of concerts each season.[5][6] In August 2005, he extended his contract for another 3 years through 2008.[7][8] He concluded his music directorship of the Royal Northern Sinfonia after the 2013–2014 season,[9] and now has the title of conductor laureate with the orchestra. He became an Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota in 2010.[10] In June 2015, the Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur announced the appointment of Zehetmair as its next principal conductor, effective September 2016, with an initial contract of 3 seasons.[11] He is scheduled to conclude his Winterthur tenure at the close of the 2020–2021 season.[12]

In October 2017, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra announced the appointment of Zehetmair as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2019–2020 season, with an initial contract of 3 years.[13] In March 2021, the Orchestre national d’Auvergne announced the appointment of Zehetmair as its next principal conductor, effective with the 2021–2022 season, with an initial contract of 3 years.[14] Since May 2022, he has been Principal Conductor and Artistic Partner of the Irish Chamber Orchestra.[15]

Zehetmair is married to the violist Ruth Killius,[16] who is also a member of the Zehetmair Quartet. He holds honorary doctorates from the Music Academy Franz Liszt in Weimar and Newcastle University.


  1. ^ Alfred Hickling (2002-10-04). “Top of the league”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  2. ^ a b Jeremy Eichler (2004-10-24). “Full-Blooded Sonatas For and by a Violinist”. New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  3. ^ Tom Service (2004-08-24). “Memory lane”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  4. ^ Andrew Clements (2007-04-27). “Bartok: String Quartet No 5; Hindemith: String Quartet No 4, Zehetmair Quartet”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  5. ^ David Mermelstein (2001-12-02). “A Violinist Who Can Do Many Things”. New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  6. ^ James Jolly, “Northern Sinfonia appoint Zehetmair”. Gramophone, 6 November 2001.
  7. ^ “Conductor continues”. The Northern Echo. 2005-08-01. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  8. ^ “Northern Sinfonia, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London”. The Northern Echo. 2005-08-02. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  9. ^ Gavin Engelbrecht (2013-06-11). “The Romantic Symphony, The Northern Sinfonia, The Sage Gateshead”. The Northern Echo. Retrieved 2013-07-04.
  10. ^ David Hawley (2009-10-07). “Violinist Thomas Zehetmair named new SPCO artistic partner”. MinnPost. Retrieved 2013-07-04.
  11. ^ “Thomas Zehetmair wird neuer Chefdirigent des Musikkollegiums Winterthur” (PDF) (Press release). Musikkollegium Winterthur. 3 June 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 November 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
  12. ^ Victoria M. Niño (2020-07-08). “Roberto González-Monjas, director titular de la Musikkollegium de Winterthur”. El Norte de Castilla. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  13. ^ Susanne Benda (2017-10-19). “Stuttgarter Kammerorchester: Thomas Zehetmair wird neuer Chef”. Stuttgarter Zeitung. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  14. ^ “Thomas Zehetmair nommé Chef principal de l’Orchestre national d’Auvergne, Christian Zacharias et Enrico Onofri, chefs associés” (PDF) (Press release). Orchestre national d’Auvergne. 2021-03-31. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  15. ^ “Thomas Zehetmair – Classical Music”. Irish Chamber Orchestra. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  16. ^ “Northern Sinfonia, The Sage Gateshead”. The Northern Echo. 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2009-02-06.

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