Ruth Killius - Viola
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 for 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 concerto for the viola 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. This season the duo can be heard in Basle, Rostock and at the Wigmore Hall London.
As artist in residence Ruth Killius will perform on stage numerous times with the Augsburger Philharmoniker. Among the repertoire for these concerts is Walton’s viola concerto, Hindemith’s Trauermusik as well as Schubert’s Arpeggione and Berio’s Voci, once again showing her versatility.
In Summer 2016 Killius founded the Trio Alexander with her long term chamber music partners Willi Zimmermann and Daniel Haefliger. After their highly acclaimed concert debut in Zurich the trio will be touring in Hannover, Frankfurt and Augsburg among others.