Annette zu - profile

Annette zu Castell (vice chairwoman)



When and where was your first concert with the MCO? The very first concert of the MCO, 1997 in Landshut. We still go back there, and I love the Rathaussaal, the Christkindlmarkt and niederbayerischen Leberkäs!

What do you need to feel at home while on tour? Luckily my husband Tim plays in the MCO, too – even in the same section! So being together on tour feels very much like home already. And of course we take our son Nicholas with us, with his countless toy cars, picture books, and panda bear. So as long as there is WiFi and a tea kettle, that does it for the home feeling.

Can you tell us something about your instrument? It is a nice Panormo violin that belonged to a collector who went from collecting violins to collecting cellos. So it was for sale, and I have never looked at another violin since.

The first piece of music you fell in love with: The minuet of Boccherini’s Cello Quintet in E Major, Op. 5, when I was about 4. I thought the vivid line of the first cello was hilarious. I have developed different criteria since then.

What CDs would you want with you on a desert island? - Schumann’s Symphonies with John Eliot Gardiner are just wonderful, as well as the Konzertstück für 4 Hörner.- Schumann’s Symphonies with John Eliot Gardiner are just wonderful, as well as the Konzertstück für 4 Hörner.

- Die Fledermaus with Carlos Kleiber. On an island, that would be the most amazing meeting of opposite realities.


Annette zu Castell studied with Wilhelm Melcher in Stuttgart, with Magdalena Rezler in Freiburg and with Simon Fischer at the Guildhall School of Music in London. She also studied chamber music with the Melos Quartet in Stuttgart and the Alban Berg Quartet in Cologne. In London she studied baroque violin with Mica Comberti. She attended masterclasses with the Borodin quartet, the Takacs quartet, Zvi Zeitlin, Tibor Varga and others.

She has received awards at both the German youth competition Jugend musiziert, and the Polish national chamber music competition.

She has been invited to the German National Youth Orchestra, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and has performed under conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink, Lothar Zagrosek and Christobal Halffter.

Annette is one of the founding members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. She also has been on the board of the self-governed ensemble since the beginning.

Annette was leader of the second violins in the Hessische Staatstheater Wiesbaden and continued this position with the Radioorchester Frankfurt, the Sinfonieorchester des Südwestfunks, the Orchester der Ludwigsburger Festspiele and the Oper Frankfurt. She has also played in the Orchestra Mozart Bologna. She also founded an ongoing series of concerts on historical instruments in Wiesbaden.