Christian Tetzlaff

Christian TetzlaffSolo violinist whose technical polish and compelling musicianship makes him ideal for a wide range of music.

Born: Born: April 24, 1966 in Hamburg, Germany

Career highlights

  • 1989: His solo turn in the incredibly difficult and rare concerto by Arnold Schoenberg with the Cleveland Orchestra, brings him increasing international attention.
  • 1994: He forms the Tetzlaff Quartet with his sister Tanja (cello), violinist Elizabeth Kuffarath, and violist Hanna Weinmeister.
  • 2001: He forms recital partnership with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. The duo release their first album the next year.
  • 2011: He is a resident artist of the BBC Proms festival and premieres a new concerto by British composer Harrison Birtwistle.

Fun Facts


  • Christian Tetzlaff plays Sarabande - Bach solo Partita no. 2
    New vistas: Tetzlaff has made it a practice to perform one world premiere concerto every year. But he doesn't meet with the composers too much, believing he finds what he needs in the score.
  • Shifting gears: Tetzlaff performs an even mix of recitals, concertos with orchestra, and chamber music with his quartet each year.
  • Put down that bow!: Tetzlaff says he only practices for 45 minutes at a time, according to an interview: “This idea that gifted children must practice for hours a day is stupid. How can they not grow to hate the instrument? And for so many the result is long-term physical problems, which means they have to give up, so their childhood was ruined for nothing.”
  • Modern man: Tetzlaff plays a modern violin, unlike a lot of violinists who play one of the many violins from the classic old makers in Cremona, Italy -- Stradivarius, Guarneri, Amati and so on.

SFCV Articles Featuring Christian Tetzlaff

April 3, 2011

Christian Tetzlaff: Chamber of Joys

Seventeen years into their founding, the members of the Tetzlaff Quartet rarely find time to perform together. After a glance at the schedule of the quartet’s founder, violinist Christian Tetzlaff, the reason becomes clear. In the months preceding the quartet’s April 16 performance in Herbst Theatre, sponsored by San Francisco Performances, Christian Tetzlaff will perform orchestral, small chamber, and solo concerts in Berlin, Salzburg, Miami, Strasbourg, St. Petersburg, Lübeck, Zürich, Boston, New York’s Carnegie Hall (one of three Carnegie appearances this year), London, Paris, and several other European cities.

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December 4, 2010

Christian Tetzlaff Stands and Delivers

The stage at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus is large enough to fit a full orchestra. But on Saturday night, one man stood alone on the stage with his violin, dressed in black, lit by a spotlight against a solid dark backdrop. No piano accompaniment or even a music stand — the solitary Christian Tetzlaff, playing the complete Sonatas and Partitas by J.S. Bach in a recital presented by Cal Performances.

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February 3, 2009

Divine Duo

It's not all that easy to maintain an artistic partnership if your primary job is "star." Violinist Christian Tetzlaff, stopping in at Herbst Theatre last Tuesday night under the auspices of San Francisco Performances, had just come from a grueling run of performances of the violin concertos of Beethoven (in Philadelphia, Jan. 8-11), Brahms (Rome, Jan. 17-20), and Berg (Madrid, Jan. 23-25).

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