Mirijam Contzen


Mirijam Contzen is a versatile violinist whose repertory runs from the Baroque to contemporary works. She is also a chamber player who founded her own string quartet, a festival organizer, and an educator.

Contzen was born in the small town of Lünen in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state in 1976. Her mother was a violinist, and she received her first violin at age two. By seven, Contzen was ready to perform a Mozart violin concerto in public. Violinist Tibor Varga happened to be in the audience and became her teacher and mentor. By 16, Contzen was on the road as a prodigy, and in 2001, she won Germany’s prestigious ECHO Klassik Rising Star prize. That propelled her into top-rank soloist slots with orchestras across Germany and abroad, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. She is one of the few European artists to have toured South Africa extensively. Contzen’s repertory is extensive: she has been especially closely associated with German historical performance specialist Reinhard Goebel but has also worked with a great variety of other conductors, from Baroque specialists (Christopher Hogwood) to those working in Romantic and contemporary music. Contzen is an enthusiastic chamber player who has performed with such luminaries as Emanuel AxJanine Jansen, and Joshua Bell; Contzen founded the Serafino Quartet in 2011, working in that group with various artists, including Ax, Bell, Jansen, Mischa Maisky, and Giovanni Guzzo, among others. Contzen co-founded the Schloss Cappenberg Music Festival in 2005, and it continues to flourish.

Her recording career began in 2001 with the album Favourite Violin Pieces, released on the Arte Nova label. She has also recorded for Oehms Classics and, as of 2020, for Sony Classical. Two albums featuring Contzen appeared that year, one offering violin concertos by the little-known composer Franz Clement, and a chamber album called Beethoven’s World. Contzen is a professor of violin at the University of the Arts in Berlin.


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