The Zehetmair Quartet was founded in the autumn of 1994, under the initiative of Thomas Zehetmair. Enthusiastically applauded by audiences and highly esteemed by the press, the Zehetmairs soon came to be seen as one of the most important string quartets in the world. In the summer of 1998 the Zehetmair Quartet undertook its first tour, which led to bookings and invitations for leading concert halls in the USA, Japan and Europe. The Zehetmair Quartet is also a welcome guest at such famous international festivals as the Edinburgh Festival, Helsinki Festival and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival.
The Zehetmair Quartet records exclusively for ECM. The ensemble's first two CDs, with quartets by Béla Bartók and Karl Amadeus Hartmann (2000) and Schumann's Quartets Nos. 1 and 3 (2003), received many prestigious awards, e.g. the Quarterly Prize of the Deutsche Schallplattenkritik, Gramophone's Record of the Year (2003), a Diapason d'Or d'Année, the Dutch Edison Classical Music Award (2004) and the Belgian Caecilia Award and Klara Award. The Zehetmairs' most recent CD, featuring Hindemith's Fourth String Quartet and Bartók's Fifth (released in March 2007), received the Diapason d'Or d'Année.
The artistic challenges taken up by the Zehetmair Quartet in the 2007/08 season have included a performance of Schumann quartets at the Wigmore Hall in London and the world premiere of Heinz Holliger's String Quartet No. 2.