Künstlersekretariat - Astrid Schoerke

Ruth Killius

Ruth Killius’s extraordinary ability to use her instrument to revive the wealth of viola literature from the Classical to the Modern Age is without equal. The versatility of her playing has bestowed her instrument with new meaning. In particular, through her passionate commitment to contemporary music, she has successfully made the viola an essential part of the music of the 21st century.

Ruth Killius, who studied under Ulrich Koch and Kim Kashkashian, expanded her standard repertoire for the viola with the addition of contemporary music. She collaborated in the performance of numerous original premieres in the Brian Ferneyhough String Trio together with members of Geneva’s Ensemble Contrechamps as well as in Elliott Carter’s Oboe Quartet with Heinz Holliger and has also inspired composers: Commissioned by the Salzburger Festspiele, Heinz Hollinger wrote his double concerto “Janus” to be performed by a violin, viola and a small orchestra for her. The performance of the original premiere of John Casken‘s double concerto “That Subtle Knot”, dedicated to the duo Thomas Zehetmair and Ruth Killius, together with the Royal Northern Sinfonia attracted widespread attention.

Together with Thomas Zehetmair, Ruth Killius formed the Zehetmair Quartett in 1994, which is now considered one of the world’s best string quartets. A recording featuring String Quartets no. 4 by Hindemith and no. 5 by Bartók was cited as a reference recording in the media and was distinguished with the Diapason d’Or of the year. The ensemble’s most recent album is dedicated to Beethoven, Bruckner, Hartmann and Holliger.

For ECM, Ruth Killius has recorded a CD featuring works by Elliott Carter and Isang Yun together with Heinz Holliger and Thomas Demenga. The recording released under the Glossa label featuring Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante” with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under Frans Brüggen also attracted widespread attention. A recording of Bartók’s Viola Concerto and Casken’s Double Concerto “That Subtle Knot” is currently in the works.

The duo Thomas Zehetmair and Ruth Killius can be heard in numerous music centres. The widely regarded album “Manto and Madrigals”, inspired by Scelsis “Manto” for a singing violist featuring works from Bartók, Holliger, Martinů et al. was released under ECM in March 2011.


Season 2017/2018
Changes and abridgement must be coordinated with Künstlersekretariat Schoerke.

Thomas Zehetmair and Ruth Killius – a variety of concerts in London

12 October 2016

Thomas Zehetmair’s talent for skilfully combining his many aptitudes with one another is without equal. In the coming two weeks, he will do just that in London. There, […] more ...

Ruth Killius Artist in Residence in Augsburg

7 October 2016

As Artist in Residence, Ruth Killius will take concert audiences in Augsburg on a musical journey through a broad repertoire for the viola. In multiple solo and chamber […] more ...

Trio Alexander debuts with summer concerts

15 July 2016

After getting to know one another while collaborating on concert performances, violinist Willi Zimmermann, violist Ruth Killius and cellist Daniel Haefliger now perform as a trio. Willi Zimmermann […] more ...

Aldeburgh Music Festival – Thomas Zehetmair – Ruth Killius

27 May 2016

Thomas Zehetmair will be attending this year’s Aldeburgh Music Festival in England where he will perform not one, but three concerts. The festival has been held since 1948 […] more ...

The Zehetmair Quartett is on tour!

18 January 2016

After winning the 2014 Hindemith Prize awarded by the city of Hanau, the Zehetmair Quartett will also be presenting an exciting programme including one of the composer’s pieces […] more ...

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