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 upon 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. He is 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 2013-14 season in North America include appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Chicago, Saint Louis, and National symphonies; recitals with Lars Vogt in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Montreal, Quebec City, and at the Schubert Club in Saint Paul; and two appearances in Carnegie Hall—with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and with the Tetzlaff Quartet, with which he also performs at Duke University, Dartmouth College, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and the Eastman School of Music. European highlights include return visits to the Vienna and Munich philharmonics and tours with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra.
Mr. Tetzlaff’s latest recordings include 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 Orchestra for Ondine; and Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 1 and Sibelius’s Quartet, Opus 56 with the Tetzlaff Quartet on the AVI label. His other recordings include Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Tonhalle Orchestra for Arte Nova, the complete Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin for the Musical Heritage and Hänssler labels, and Schumann’s three piano trios with Leif Ove Andsnes and Tanja Tetzlaff for EMI/Virgin.
As a 2010-11 Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist, Mr. Tetzlaff collaborated with the Boston Symphony, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, Ensemble ACJW, and in a duo-recital with violinist Antje Weithaas. He was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year in 2005. Christian Tetzlaff performs on a violin modeled after a Guarneri del Gesù made by Peter Greiner.
He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1991.