Christian Tetzlaff was born in Hamburg in 1966 to a musical family. He started playing the violin and piano at age six, and began intensive study of the violin at the age of fourteen with Uwe-Martin Haiberg at the conservatory in Lübeck. Mr. Tetzlaff came to the United States in 1985-86 to work with Walter Levine at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and also spent two summers at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. In addition to appearances with orchestras worldwide, he is also the founder of the Tetzlaff Quartet, which he formed in 1994 with violinist Elisabeth Kufferath, violist Hanna Weinmeister, and his sister, cellist Tanja Tetzlaff.
Highlights of Mr. Tetzlaff’s 2015-16 season includes return engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestra of Saint Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, the London and Israel philharmonics, and Budapest Festival Orchestra; a tour with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with performances in Leipzig, Vienna, Paris, and London; and chamber music tours in North America and Europe with Lars Vogt and Tanja Tetzlaff, and with Leif Ove Andsnes, Tabea Zimmermann, and Clemens Hagen.
Mr. Tetzlaff's recordings reflect the breadth of his musical interests and include works by composers ranging from Haydn to Bartók. His discography includes the complete Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin for the Musical Heritage and Hänssler labels; Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Vienna Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon; the Schumann and Mendelssohn violin concertos with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra for Edel Classics; Jörg Widmann’s Violin Concerto, written for Mr. Tetzlaff, with the Swedish Radio Symphony for Ondine; the two Shostakovich violin concertos with the Helsinki Philharmonic for Ondine; and the Berg Lyric Suite and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet, Opus 13 with the Tetzlaff Quartet for the CAvi label. His most recent recording is of the three Brahms piano trios with Tanja Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt on the Ondine label; future releases include the three Brahms sonatas for violin and piano with Lars Vogt, also for Ondine.
As a 2010-11 Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist, Mr. Tetzlaff collaborated with the Boston Symphony, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, Ensemble ACJW, and violinist Antje Weithaas. He was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year in 2005. Christian Tetzlaff performs on a violin modeled after a Guarnerius del Gesù made by Peter Greiner. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1991.