She studied piano there under Jeanne Bovet and composition under Walter Furrer. Later she studied under Denise Bidal and Alfred Cortot in Lausanne. She continued her education at the École Normale de Musique de Paris, studying composition under Arthur Honegger, and graduated in piano in 1952.
Zimmermann trained as a conductor under Ewald Körner in Bern and took master courses from Igor Markevitch in Monte Carlo and Hans Swarowski in Ossiach. She taught music for several years and worked as a conductor. She studied composition with Aurelio Maggioni and Umberto Rotondi at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, where she received her diploma in composition in 1978. She also studied conducting under Umberto Cattini.
In 1973, Margrit Zimmermann established an orchestra in Bern. She received the Jubiläumsstiftung der Schweizerischen Bankgesellschaft award in 1986, female composer awards from the city of Unna and the city of Kassel, and an award from the Japan International League of Artists in Tokyo in 1989.
Zimmermann has composed works for chamber orchestra, voice and symphonic orchestra, ballet music, solo works for piano, string and wind instruments, and guitar, including:
- Drei Lieder, op. 5 (1977–78)
- Musica per nove archi, op. 17 (1977)
- Suoni, op. 4 (1978)
- Quartetto d'archi Nr. 1, op. 7 (string quartet N°1, op.7) (1979–1982)
- Introduzione, Allegro, Episodio I - II - III, Alla marcia et Fugato.
- Introduzione e Allegro, op. 12 (1979) Symphony for large orchestra
- Der Politiker: Braucht der Mensch Freiheit?, op. 6 (1979) for one speaking voice, double bass and piano
- Musica, op. 8 (1980) for violoncello and piano
- Per Sei, op. 9 (1980) for flute, violin, viola, violoncello, piano and timpani
- Quartetto d'archi Nr. 2, op. 11 (1980)
- Quartetto d'archi Nr. 3, "Il giuoco", op. 16 (1981)
- Black Box, op. 19 (1981–82) for oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon
- Capriccio, op. 19 (1982) for one voice and piano
- Duetto, op. 26 (1982) for violoncello and guitar
- Spiegelungen des Tages, op. 34 (1984/90)
- Fantasia duetto, op. 29 (1984) for flute and guitar
- Pezzi Brevi, op. 30 (1984) for guitar
- Bianchi-Neri, op. 36 (1984) for piano
- Pensieri, op. 31 (1984) 3 sonnets for tenor, guitar and flute
- Plis, op. 37 (1985) Symphony for tenor and solo instruments
- Dialog, op. 38 (1985) for flute and piano
- Fuori Dentro, op. 70 (1985) for piano
- Visione, op. 32 (1985) for guitar and piano
- Sonate für Violine solo, op. 33 (sonata for violin solo, op. 33) (1985)
- Pizzicato, op. 68 (1985) for violin
- Orphische Tänze, op. 43 (1986) Quintet for flute, clarinet, viola, violoncello and piano
- Aus dem Tagebuch einer Prinzessin, op. 44 (1986) for piano
- Rapsodie, op. 41 (1986) for solo violin, guitar, 2 violins, viola, violoncello and double bass
- L'illusione per violoncello solo, op. 42 (1986)
- Gehen/Sucht/Morgen, op. 45 (1986) Trio for alto voice, violoncello and piano
- Panta Rhei, op. 39 (1987) for violin solo, soprano, female choir and organ
- Pianorama, op. 59 (1987) Concert for piano and string orchestra
- Die Gestundete Zeit, op. 52 (1987) for voice and instrumental ensemble
- Piano Time, op. 46 (1987) Toccata for piano solo
- Cloccachorda, op. 40 (1987) for piano
- Quadriga, op. 51 (1987) for piano
- Spuren innerer Kreise, op. 53 (1988) for 16 voices
- Murooji per chitarra solo, op. 57 (1988)
- Alle 7 Jahre, op. 58 (1989) for soprano and piano
- Rhapsodie For Two, op. 52 (1990) for clarinet and piano
- Wo sich berühren Raum und Zeit, op. 60 (1990) for nine female voices
- Triptychon, op. 58 (1990) for trombone and organ
- Serenade, op. 62 (1992) for flute and piano
- In Urbis Honorem, op. 61 (1992) for mixed choir and orchestra, after texts from "Das Jahr der Stadt" by Georg Schaeffner.
- Incontro, op. 93 (1992) Duettino for flute and euphonium
- Gesänge der Liebe, op. 102 (1994–1995) for soprano and piano
- Italiam! Italiam!, op. 106 (1995) for one speaking voice, clarinet and military drum
- OMEGA: dentro fuori, op. 57 (1996)for flute (with string effects in the piano)
- Capriccio, op. 63 (1998–1999) for piano
- Il Flauto magico, op. 77, 1 (1999) for flute
- Allegro Giocoso, op. 100 (2000) for piano
- Esperanza, op. 102 (2000) for flute
- MusInfo.ch; retrieved 30 April 2020.
- Obituary (in German) in Archiv Frau und Musik; retrieved 30 April 2020.
- Dees, Pamela Youngdahl, A Guide to Piano Music by Women Composers: Women born after 1900, Greenwood, p. 267
- Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian (1994). The Norton/Grove dictionary of women composers (Digitized online by GoogleBooks). Retrieved 4 October 2010.
- "Zimmermann, Margrit". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2010.