Hermann Menninghaus was born in the Bünde (Westfalen) and initially launched his musical career with the violin. He took his first lessons at the age of eight, switched to Valeri Gradow at the Folkwang Academy in Essen in 1978, where he won the first prize of the 1984 Academy Competition.
Beyond this, he attended master classes with Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, Yfrah Neaman, Riccardo Odnoposoff, Albert Markov and Valeri Gradow.
In 1986 he became the youngest member of the Berlin Philharmonics, which were then still under the direction of Herbert von Karajan. In the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, with the Ten Philharmonic Violinists as well as in the Philharmonic Collegium Berlin, Hermann Menninghaus devoted plenty of time to chamber music.
He has also made a number of solo appearances (among other places in Germany, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Canada and the United States) before the artist moved on from the violin to the viola in 1995.
He took lessons for playing his new instrument from his Berlin orchestra colleagues, Wolfram Christ and Wilfried Strehle, and only two years later (1997) became principal violist in the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, with which he has since made a lot of solo appearances. In the years 1998 and 1999 Hermann Menninghaus was principal violist in the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, and from 1999 to 2003 he held the same position with the Super World Orchestra of Tokyo.
Since 2000 he has given regular international master classes in Mannheim and Weinheim. He is also deeply devoted to his duties as a teacher in the Academy of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.