For years, Anne-Sophie Mutter has been performing together with various scholarship students of her foundation – in order to familiarise them with the life of a professional musician and to introduce them to a broader audience. In the spring of 2011 she started the additional project The Mutter Virtuosi: this ensemble under the violinist’s artistic leadership consists of current and former scholarship holders of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation as well as selected other young musicians. On their tours through Europe, North America and Asia, the Mutter Virtuosi regularly introduce their audience to new works; benefit concerts are also a fixed part of every tour programme. Furthermore, the soloists’ ensemble can now be heard on recordings and video.
The first tour in 2011 featured stops in eleven European cities. The programme included Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings Op. 20, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and a work commissioned by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation from Krzysztof Penderecki, “Duo concertante per violino e contrabbasso”.
As part of this tour, the Mutter Virtuosi played two benefit concerts: one for the Hanna and Paul Gräb Foundation which supports people with handicaps, and one for the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Society. “It is important to me that our scholarship students realise their social responsibility as artists,” says Anne-Sophie Mutter. “Music is a gift for everyone, a possibility to share feelings regardless of your background, to do something meaningful and serve society as a musician.”
The concert programme of the tour through Asia in 2013 once again included the classics by Mendelssohn and Vivaldi – and a new commission from the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation: on June 6, 2013 the violinist and the double bass player Roman Patkoló gave the world premiere of Sebastian Currier’s “Ringtone Variations” in Seoul.
November 2014 saw the next tour of Anne-Sophie Mutter and her Virtuosi. They performed seven concerts in Canada and the USA, including at New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall. The Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation’s commission “Ringtone Variations” and Previn’s Violin Concerto No. 2 were first performed in American concert halls. The tour repertoire also included the Bach Double Concerto for Two Violins, the Mendelssohn Octet and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Two benefit appearances framed the North American tour.
Anne-Sophie Mutter’s club performances at Berlin’s “Neue Heimat“ in May 2015 saw her Virtuosi on stage with her for Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and the Bach Double Concerto – an unforgettable experience for the young ensemble members. Deutsche Grammophon and the ZDF television channel were the local co-producers, recording the event which is now available on CD, Vinyl, DVD and Blu-ray Disc. “I really wanted to share the stage with my Virtuosi,” says Anne-Sophie Mutter. “They are an integral part of my life with the ideal of what one can do with music in society. Ultimately the point is that music allows us to truly encounter other people, that it builds bridges not only between generations, but between different cultures which we have constructed; it transcends religious and sometimes dogmatic walls we have erected between us.”
The world premiere of Sir André Previn’s Nonet for Two String Quartets and Double Bass, commissioned by the violinist for Mutter’s Virtuosi and dedicated to her, launched a tour of European festivals on August 26, 2015, during which the young ensemble visited eight European countries. During this fourth joint tour, Mutter and her Virtuosi once again included a benefit concert, this one aiding the restoration of the Versailles Palace.
In April 2016 Mutter’s Virtuosi appeared in ten concerts in Aix-en-Provence, Barcelona and eight German cities. Sir André Previn’s Nonet for Two String Quartets and Double Bass opened the performances, followed by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Concerto for Two Violins and Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
Commemorating the 35-year anniversary of Anne-Sophie Mutter’s debut in Japan, Mutter’s Virtuosi travelled to Tokyo in October 2016. “In order to emphasize the bridge-building power of music here as elsewhere, I have invited some of Japan’s best young string players to join Mutter’s Virtuosi in Tokyo,” said Anne-Sophie Mutter.