Born in Hamburg in 1966, he studied at the conservatory in Lübeck with Uwe-Martin Hailberg, and then at the Cincinnati Conservatory with Walter Levin. He made his debut in Berlin with Schoenberg's concerto, accompanied by the Münchner Philharmoniker under the baton of Sergiu Celibidache, and in the U. S. with the Cleveland Orchestra under the baton of Christoph von Dohnanyi. He then played with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
In 1997, he played with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester under the baton of Lorin Maazel and Leonard Slatkin, and with the Berliner Sinfonie orchester under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. He plays regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Pierre Boulez, with the Orchestre National de France, the philharmonic orchestras of Vienna, Hamburg and Stockholm, the symphony orchestras of Boston and Chicago. He plays around the world Bach's famous Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, in Berlin, Hannover, Tel Aviv and at the Lincoln Center in New York.
He is the guest of the Ravinia Festival, Tanglewood and Schleswig-Holstein. His regular partners in chamber music are Yo-Yo Ma, Sabine Meyer, Heinrich Schiff, Tabea Zimmermann, Alexei Lubimov, Boris Pergamenschikov and Leif Ove Andsnes. He has recorded for Virgin Classics Bartók's Second Violin Concerto, concertos by J. Haydn, Mozart, Dvořák, Janáček and Weill, Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, Bach's complete Sonatas and partitas, sonatas by Janáček, Ravel, Debussy and Nielsen with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, and Sibelius' works for violin and orchestra. For Decca, he recorded Alban Berg's Chamber Concerto with pianist Mitsuko Uchida under the direction of Pierre Boulez. EMI has just released the complete Schumann piano trios with Leif Ove Andsnes and Tanja Tetzlaff.
He played the world premiere of the Finnish composer Kaipainen's concerto in December 2006, and Jörg Widmann's concerto in 2008. He plays a violin Peter Greiner made in 1999. He played for the first time in Paris at the Auditorium du Louvre in 1996.