Künstlersekretariat - Astrid Schoerke

Ruth Killius

“Ruth Killius shines in a revelatory performance of Bartók’s Viola Concerto.”

Ruth Killius’ 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.

Particularly through her interest and commitment to contemporary music, Ruth Killius, who studied with Ulrich Koch and Kim Kashkashian, has succeeded in establishing the viola as an integral part of the musical 21st century and in expanding the standard repertoire for her instrument. She collaborated in the performance of numerous original premieres e.g. 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. Holliger wrote his double concerto for violin, viola and a small orchestra, a commission from the Salzburg Festival, 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. In the spring of 2023, the work was released paired with Bartók’s Viola Concerto on ECM New Series.

Ruth Killius can be heard on the international concert podiums with solo and double concertos and as a chamber musician. She has made guest appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, Russian National Youth Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg and repeatedly in Gateshead and Clermont-Ferrand. Ruth Killius was Artist in Residence with the Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2016/17 season.

Together with Thomas Zehetmair, Ruth Killius formed the Zehetmair Quartet in 1994, which is now considered one of the world’s leading string quartets. A recording featuring Hindemith’s String Quartet No. 4 and Bartók’s String Quartet No. 5 was distinguished with the Diapason d’Or de l’Année of the year. In 2013, the ensemble released a recording 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 is considered to be a reference recording. In April 2018, her latest recording of all Hindemith sonatas for viola was published by NoMadMusic.

The duo Thomas Zehetmair and Ruth Killius can be heard in numerous music centers. The widely regarded album Manto and Madrigals, inspired by Scelsi’s Manto for a singing violist featuring works of Bartók, Holliger, Martinů et al. was released on ECM in March 2011.

Season 2023/2024 | Photo: Jean-François Mariotti | Quote: Radio France, March 5 2023
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Performance of Thomas Zehetmair’s composition

1 December 2023

This Sunday, Thomas Zehetmair will be playing in a trio with Ruth Killius and Daniel Haefliger at the Martinu Festival in Basel. In addition to works by Martinu […] more ...

Ruth Killius at the Philharmonie Berlin

24 November 2023

On Monday evening, Ruth Killius will perform at the Philharmonie Berlin as part of the annual charity concert of the Foundation Gute Tat. Alongside colleagues such as Olga […] more ...

From Hamburg through the Alps with the Zehetmair Quartet

4 May 2023

The Zehetmair Quartet will spend a week touring from Hamburg, along Munich and South Tirol to Switzerland. At each stop the etablished string quartet will present a colorful […] more ...

Ruth Killius and the Irish Chamber Orchestra

22 February 2023

This week, Ruth Killius is visiting the Irish Chamber Orchestra to play two concerts under the direction of their principal conductor Thomas Zehetmair. They will present Mozart’s Sinfonia […] more ...

New Album with Ruth Killius and Thomas Zehetmair

17 February 2023

Ruth Killius and Thomas Zehetmair have recorded a new CD with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. The album is being released by ECM and contains Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Bartók’s […] more ...

Ruth Killius and Thomas Zehetmair in Gateshead

24 November 2022

Ruth Killius will play a concert in Gateshead, United Kingdom this Friday under the baton of Thomas Zehetmair. Together with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, they will present William […] more ...

Ruth Killius and Thomas Zehetmair in Auvergne

4 October 2022

This week, Ruth Killius and Thomas Zehetmair are in French Auvergne for two concerts. With the Orchestre National d’Auvergne, of which Thomas Zehetmair is principal conductor, Britten’s Double […] more ...

Zehetmair Quartett on European Tour

27 April 2022

The Zehetmair Quartett is embarking on a tour throughout Germany, Austria, Belgium and Finland. After concerts in Homburg and Blaibach the four musicians will travel to Innsbruck before […] more ...

Epiphany concert with SKO

5 January 2022

On the occasion of Epiphany, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra will perform a concert with two German premieres on January 06, conducted by Thomas Zehetmair. On that evening he […] more ...

Ruth Killius at Musikkollegium Winterthur

21 June 2021

This Wednesday Ruth Killius will participate in the farewell-concert for Thomas Zehetmair at Musikkollegium Winterthur. Together with Zehetmair she will be playing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola […] more ...

Ruth Killius streaming from Winterthur

3 February 2021

Ruth Killius‘ concert with the Musikkollegium Winterthur under the direction of Thomas Zehetmair will be streamed live tonight. Apart from Tschaikowsky’s 5th Symphony they will perform the Double […] more ...

Ruth Killius in Jekaterinburg

26 November 2020

We are happy to annouce that Ruth Killius has the chance to perform a concert live today. This concert takes place at the international B@thoven-Festival in Jekaterinburg and […] more ...

Ruth Killius in Russia

14 October 2020

Ruth Killius is currently in Moskow, Russia preparing for two concerts with the Russian National Youth Symphony Orchestra. On Friday and Saturday she will play Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante […] more ...

Thomas Zehetmair and Ruth Killius playing in São Paulo

7 May 2019

Even with two programs Thomas Zehetmair will be performing at the Sala São Paulo in the upcoming weeks. After leading the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo […] more ...

Thomas Zehetmair and Ruth Killius as guests in Bogotá

21 February 2019

Thomas Zehetmair is from February 22nd to marc 2nd guest in the capital of Colombia and will present together with Ruth Killius and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá […] more ...

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 ...

Thomas Zehetmair, Ruth Killius & Daniel Haefliger

9 April 2024

Thomas Zehetmair’s first own composition Passacaglia, Burleske and Meditation was premiered in Geneva in 2023 as part of the Swiss Chamber Concerts and since then been perfomed in […] more ...

Season promgram 25/26 with Zehetmair Quartet

13 March 2024

Thomas Zehetmair | Violin Jakub Jakowicz | Violin Ruth Killius | Viola Christian Elliott | Violoncello March 4th-15th 2026 or upon request They gave the impression that they […] more ...

Ruth Killius and Thomas Zehetmair

4 February 2024

Thomas Zehetmair | Violin Ruth Killius | Viola   iiiiiiiii iiiiiiiii “A particularly brilliant highlight of the special concert was the subsequent joint performance with Ruth Killius. […] […] more ...

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J. S. Bach
Brandenburg concerto No. 6 in B-flat major BWV 1051

Concerto for viola and orchestra op. posth.

Chemin III

Harold in Italy – Symphony in four movements with viola solo op. 16

Lachrymae: Reflections on a song of Dowland op. 48 version for violin, viola and orchestra
Double concerto for violin, viola and orchestra in B minor

Romance in F major op. 85

J. Casken
That Subtle Knot 

Concert piece

Sonata D minor

K. A. Hartmann
Concerto for viola, piano and orchestra

Chamber music No. 5 for viola and orchestra op. 36 No. 4
Der Schwanendreher concerto for viola and chamber orchestra
Trauermusik for viola solo and string orchestra

Concerto for viola and orchestra in D major



Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and orchestra

Concerto No. 1
Concerto No. 2

Sinfonia concertante in E-flat major for violin, viola and orchestra

Grand sonata in A major

Concerto for viola and orchestra

Concerto for viola and orchestra

Concerto for viola and orchestra in D major op. 1

Concerto for viola, strings and b.c. in G major TWV 51:G 9

Concerto for viola and orchestra

B. A. Zimmermann
Antiphonen for viola and 25 instrumentalists

John Casken: Concerto for violin, viola, orchestra That subtle Knot
Bartok: Concert for viola
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor op. 67
Partner: Thomas Zehetmair (conductor, violin), Northern Sinfonia
ECM New Series (2023)

Paul Hindemith
Complete sonatas for viola solo
NoMadMusic (2018)

Manto and Madrigals
Killius: Ó min flaskan friða
Scelsi: Manto
Holliger: 3 Skizzen
Bartók: Duo
Skalkottas: Duo
Maxwell: Davies Midhouse Air
Martinů: 3 Madrigals
Nied: Zugabe (Encore)
Partner: Thomas Zehetmair (violin)
ECM New Series 2150 (2011)

Sinfonia concertante in E flat major K 364
Partner: Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Frans Brüggen (conductor), Thomas Zehetmair (violin)
GCD 921108 (2009)

Bartók: String quartet No. 5 Sz 102
Hindemith: String quartet No. 4 op. 22
Partner: Zehetmair Quartett
ECM New Series 1874 (2007)

Carter: Oboen quartett, 4 Lauds for solo violin
(A 6 Letter Letter for Englisch horn; Figment, Figment II for solo cello)
Yun: (Piri for solo oboe) Quartet for oboe and string trio
Partner: Heinz Holliger (oboe, Englisch horn),  Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Thomas Demenga (cello)
ECM New Series 1848/49 (2003)

Hartmann: String quartet No. 1
Bartók: String quartet No. 4
Partner: Zehetmair Quartett
ECM New Series 1727 (2001)

String quartet No. 1
String quartet No. 3
Partner: Zehetmair Quartett
ECM New Series 1793 (2003)

Ruth Killius live at LAC Lugano

Ruth Killius, Thomas Zehetmair & Ural Philharmonic Orchestra: Benjamin Britten – Double Concerto for Violin and Viola

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