zimmermann headshot
  • Professor of Orchestral Conducting
  • Director of Orchestral Activities
Office Phone: 512-232-2098
Office Location: MBE 2.116G
  • Instrumental Conducting

Gerhardt Zimmermann is in his third season as Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music. Maestro Zimmermann, is in his 28th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra and this summer, he will return to the Breckenridge Music Festival (Co) for his 16th season as Music Director and Principal Conductor. After 21 years as Music Director and Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony (1982 – 2002), Zimmermann held the post of Conductor Laureate from 2002 - 2008.

Zimmermann's energetic and vibrant performances have drawn invitations to appear on the podium with the Cleveland, Chicago, National, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Jersey, Syracuse, Rochester and San Antonio orchestras. Other guest appearances include the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago's Grant Park, Colorado Philharmonic and the Cleveland Opera.

Of his leading the National Symphony (Washington, DC) in a five concert Beethoven festival, the Washington Times, under the headline "Heavenly Seventh," wrote, "one of the marvels of Maestro Zimmermann's baton was they subtlety of the rubato. When tempos fluctuated, they did so naturally…The full power of the National Symphony…arrived gravely, magnificently under Maestro Zimmermann's guidance."

After his debut with the Colorado Philharmonic in 2003, the Denver Post said

"…one would be hard pressed to recall a better account of Edward Elgar's … 'Enigma' Variations. Zimmermann, though with a score on the music desk before the podium never opened it, and led the orchestra with command and sure concert. It was masterful, the orchestra responding with sonorous clarity."

And the Rocky Mountain News read:

"Zimmermann and company created an exquisite reading of Elgar's 'Enigma' Variations… the conductor, working from memory, made every note count. His control over the proceedings was complete, and the orchestra responded with some of its finest playing of the season."

After his performances this past November with the North Carolina Symphony, Zimmermann's conducting of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6, the headline of Roy Dick's review in the News and Observer read "MAHLER MASTERED". The review continued:

"Zimmermann's deep understanding and firm overview of the piece were established within the first pages, giving the music momentum and architecture, but allowing myriad little effects and sudden byways to make their points.......The orchestra's crisp precision and rich, hall-filling sound made an overwhelming impact.

With headlines such as: "Zimmermann the Spark that ignites Grant Park Symphony", "Canton Symphony steams up night", "LPO (Louisiana Philharmonic) delivers drama with flair….", and " Orchestra (Canton Symphony) gives impassioned Ninth Symphony (Mahler)", Zimmermann consistently receives accolades from critics and audiences alike. He has recorded with the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Louisville Orchestra and the North Carolina Symphony on the MMA, Louisville, and Koch labels. Zimmermann has also appeared as a guest on Breakfast with the Arts, a weekly program on the Arts and Education Network.

As comfortable in the pit as on the concert stage, the Maestro has conducted staged works of Mozart, Verdi, Strauss Jr., Puccini and Gershwin and made his debut with the Cleveland Opera this past February 2006, conducting Gounod's Romeo et Juliette. The Cleveland Plain Dealer remarked that "Zimmermann…went on to lead a warm, vivid reading… The orchestra responded with a keen blend of ensemble finesse and solo suavity". The Akron Beacon Journal added "I've rarely heard the orchestra sound so full or play more expressively than under …… Zimmermann".

American born, he and his wife Sharon have 2 children, Anna Marie and Peter Karl Irum. You can hear Gerhardt weekly on WCLV as he hosts "Music from UT" 89.5 FM.