“The Musikkollegium Winterthur is a jewel in the Swiss orchestral landscape.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

The Musikkollegium Winterthur was founded in 1629 and has been a professional symphony orchestra since 1875 – when it was initially known as the Stadtorchester Winterthur (the “Winterthur City Orchestra”). Today it employs some 50 musicians and is one of the leading professional orchestras in Switzerland. Each season it plays roughly 40 concert programmes at the Stadthaus in Winterthur, and also organises numerous chamber music events.

In the fields of opera and ballet, the Musikkollegium Winterthur also enjoys a fruitful collaboration with institutions such as the Winterthur Theatre and the Zurich Opera House. It has a broad repertoire ranging from the Baroque to contemporary music, with a focus on Classical and early Romantic works. It regularly gives first performances and world premières.

In the first half of the 20th century, the conductor Hermann Scherchen had a significant impact on the orchestra. He was followed by Joseph Keilberth. Renowned conductors such as Franz Welser-Möst and Heinrich Schiff continued the tradition they established. From 2009 to 2016 Douglas Boyd was the Chief Conductor of the Musikkollegium Winterthur, and since the 2016/17 season this position has been held by Thomas Zehetmair.

Famous soloists and conductors such as Martin Helmchen, Sir András Schiff, Christian Tetzlaff, Isabelle Faust, Maurice Steger, Heinz Holliger, Michael Sanderling, Fazil Say, Sol Gabetta, Andreas Ottensamer and Reinhard Goebel – to name but a few – perform regularly as guests with the Musikkollegium Winterthur.

In recent years, the Musikkollegium Winterthur has been engaged in wide-ranging youth work. It has played a pioneering role in this field and has already received several prizes for it. Besides a diverse spectrum of events, it has also realised CD, DVD and book projects, along with a documentary film. Time and again, the Musikkollegium Winterthur has also presented new, even experimental concert formats – such as the “Classic Openair” in the Rychenbergpark in Winterthur, “Klassik im Club”, “Classic Circus” and “Film & Music”. The Musikkollegium Winterthur is also regularly invited to give guest performances in Switzerland and abroad.

The artistic excellence of the Musikkollegium Winterthur is also demonstrated by its numerous CD recordings, some of which have been awarded prizes – such as its cycle with all the piano concertos and symphonies by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.


«One of the exceptional artistic personalities of our time»

As a violinist, conductor and chamber musician, Thomas Zehetmair enjoys a great reputation all over the world. His international career as a conductor was determined early on by two positions above all – as Chief Conductor of the Orchestre de chambre de Paris in France, and as an Artistic Partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the USA. He was the Chief Conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia from 2002 to 2014, and made it into one of the leading orchestras in England. He also remains committed to the orchestra as its “Conductor Laureate”. Their extremely successful collaboration has been documented by a series of recordings: Brahms’s Violin Concerto and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos. 3 and 6, Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Schubert’s Symphonies Nos. 6 and 9 and the Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 by Hans Gál. His most recent releases include Mendelssohn’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 5 with the Musikkollegium Winterthur (on the MDG label) and works by French composers on two albums with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris (on Naïve)

Thomas Zehetmair has recorded the greater part of the violin repertoire, and many of his recordings have been awarded numerous prizes. These recordings include Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Violin Concerto with the WDR Symphony Orchestra under Heinz Holliger (which won the “Diapason d’Or de l’Année” in 2009), the 24 Paganini Caprices (on the “list of the best” for the “Prize of the German Record Critics” in 2009 and the Midem Classic Award 2010), a recording of Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the Hallé Orchestra of Manchester under Mark Elder (Gramophone Award 2010) and Mozart’s Violin Concertos with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under Frans Brüggen, which are considered reference recordings. In March 2011 ECM also released Manto and Madrigals, on which Thomas Zehetmair and his duo partner Ruth Killius undertake a journey through the modern and contemporary repertoire for violin and viola.

Thomas Zehetmair’s position as Chief Conductor has been complemented by numerous guest performances with orchestras such as the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the Residentie Orkest Den Haag, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, the Camerata Salzburg (at the Salzburg Festival) and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He also performs regularly as a soloist with many important orchestras.

Thomas Zehetmair has been the recipient of various awards for his diverse artistic activities, such as the “Ehrenurkunde” (“honorary certificate”) of the Prize of the German Record Critics and the Karl Böhm Interpretation Prize of the Province of Styria. Thomas Zehetmair has honorary doctorates in music from the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar and from Newcastle University.