Anne-Sophie Mutter's Vita

2023 Anne-Sophie Mutter's Vita

Anne-Sophie Mutter is a musical phenomenon: for 47 years the virtuoso has now been a fixture in all the world’s major concert halls, making her mark on the classical music scene as a soloist, mentor and visionary. The four-time Grammy® Award winner is equally committed to the performance of traditional composers as to the future of music.

So far she has given world premieres of 31 works – Thomas Adès, Unsuk Chin, Sebastian Currier, Henri Dutilleux, Sofia Gubaidulina, Witold Lutoslawski, Norbert Moret, Krzysztof Penderecki, Sir André Previn, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann and John Williams have all composed for Anne-Sophie Mutter. She dedicates herself to supporting tomorrow’s musical elite and numerous benefit projects. Furthermore, the board of trustees of the German cancer charity “Deutsche Krebshilfe” elected her the new president of the non-profit organization in 2021. Since January 2022 she joins the foundation board of the Lucerne Festival. In the autumn of 1997 she founded the Association of Friends of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation e.V., to which the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation was added in 2008. These two charitable institutions provide support for the scholarship recipients, support which is tailored to the fellows’ individual needs. Since 2011, Anne-Sophie Mutter has regularly shared the spotlight on stage with her ensemble of fellows, Mutter’s Virtuosi.

In the year she turns 60, Anne-Sophie Mutter’s concerts reflect the violinist’s musical versatility and her peerless rank in the world of classical music. Numerous compositions dedicated to her fill her 2023 concert calendar; in many countries, these works will be programmed for the first time. At the turn of the new year, Anne-Sophie Mutter and “Mutter’s Virtuosi” tour Iceland, the USA and Canada. The programmes include the Concerto in A-major Op. 5 No. 2 by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges, Unsuk Chin’s Gran Cadenza (commissioned by Mutter), Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins in B-minor Op. 3 No. 10 and his Four Seasons.

Two further tours in June and August/September take Anne-Sophie Mutter and her “Virtuosi” through Europe. The repertoire includes three works by J. S. Bach: his Violin Concerto No. 1 in A-minor, the Double Concerto for Two Violins and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G-major. These are complemented by the Nonet by André Previn, a work dedicated to the violinist, as well as the Violin Concerto in D-major by Francesco Maria Veracini and the Concerto in A-major Op. 5 No. 2 by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges. Fourteen string players and Knut Johannessen at the harpsichord will perform these three tours under the leadership of Anne-Sophie Mutter.

In the USA, she performs Thomas Adès’ Air – Homage to Sibelius, a work she co-commissioned and premiered at the Lucerne Festival in 2022 together with the composer. Her musical partners are the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons.

A European chamber music tour is also planned: Johannes Brahms’ Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3 in D-minor Op. 108, Clara Schumann’s Three Romances Op. 22 for Violin and Piano, Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ghost Trio” and Sebastian Currier’s Ghost Trio (dedicated to the violinist) will be performed by Mutter with Lambert Orkis and the cellist Maximilian Hornung. Ghost Trio will be performed in Europe for the first time on these occasions.

Another musical focus in 2023 is the oeuvre of John Williams: Mutter will perform his Violin Concerto No. 2, dedicated to her, as well as a selection of the virtuoso film music adaptations Williams created especially for her in Australia, Europe and the USA – the American performances will be conducted by the composer himself.

Anne-Sophie Mutter concludes the year 2023 performing Krzysztof Penderecki’s Violin Concerto No. 2 “Metamorphosen” in honour of the 90th birthday of the composer, who passed away in 2020. She will play this work, which is also dedicated to her, in Poland and Israel together with the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrey Boreyko.

Discography

Her first recording was released in 1978: Mozart’s Violin Concerti Nos. 3 and 5 with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic. Since then she has made numerous recordings, for which Anne-Sophie Mutter has received four Grammies®, nine Echo Classic Awards, the German Recording Award, the Record Academy Prize, the Grand Prix du Disque and the International Phono Award.

The following contains an overview of the past 15 years: On the occasion of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birthday in 2006, Anne-Sophie Mutter presented new recordings of Mozart’s complete major compositions for violin.

In September 2008 her recording of Gubaidulina’s Violin Concerto In tempus praesens as well as the Bach Violin Concerti in A-Minor and E-Major was released.

During the Mendelssohn anniversary year of 2009, Anne-Sophie Mutter paid very personal homage to the composer, uniting solo concerto repertoire and chamber music on CD and DVD: the Violin Sonata in F-Major written in 1838, the Piano Trio in D-Minor completed a year later, and the Violin Concerto in E-Minor of 1845.

March 2010 saw the release of Anne-Sophie Mutter’s recording of the Brahms Violin Sonatas, performed with Lambert Orkis. For her 35-year stage anniversary in 2011, Deutsche Grammophon released a comprehensive box set with all of the artist’s DG recordings, extensive documentary material and as-yet unpublished rarities. At the same time, an album of first recordings of pieces dedicated to the violinist by Wolfgang Rihm, Sebastian Currier and Krzysztof Penderecki appeared.

In October 2013 Anne-Sophie Mutter presented her first recording of the Dvořák Violin Concerto with conductor Manfred Honeck and the Berlin Philharmonic.

In May 2014 a double CD with recordings by Mutter and Orkis followed, commemorating the 25th anniversary of their collaboration: The Silver Album featuring the first recordings of Penderecki’s La Follia and Previn’s Violin Sonata No. 2.

The live recording Anne-Sophie Mutter – Live from Yellow Lounge of her club performance in Berlin was released on CD, vinyl, DVD and Blu-ray disc on August 28, 2015. This was the first live recording ever from a Yellow Lounge. On the podium at Neue Heimat Berlin, Anne-Sophie Mutter was joined by her long-standing piano accompanist Lambert Orkis, “Mutter’s Virtuosi” and the harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. The programme covered three centuries of classical music – from Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi to George Gershwin and John Williams – a combination chosen especially by Anne-Sophie Mutter for the club evenings.

Commemorating the 40-year stage anniversary of the charismatic artist, Deutsche Grammophon assembled the double CD Mutterissimo – The Art of Anne-Sophie Mutter, released in 2016. It assembles the highlights of her multi-faceted discography – personally selected by Anne-Sophie Mutter herself and focusing primarily on the past two decades of her impressive career.

In November 2017, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Daniil Trifonov released their first joint album, focusing on one of the most famous works in all the classical repertoire. Together with Hwayoon Lee, Maximilian Hornung and Roman Patkoló, they recorded Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A-major, generally known as the “Trout Quintet”. The programme also included Schubert’s Notturno, a masterful late work for violin, cello and piano, as well as his songs Ständchen and Ave Maria, arranged for violin and piano.

Krzysztof Penderecki’s 85th birthday was honoured by Deutsche Grammophon in 2018 with a double album including all the works he has dedicated to Anne-Sophie Mutter, including her first recording of the Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2: a sensitive and touching homage by the violinist to her musical friend and companion.

In 2018, Deutsche Grammophon also commemorated the 40-year anniversary of Anne-Sophie Mutter’s first recording by re-releasing her earliest concerto recordings in a deluxe hardcover edition entitled The Early Years – featuring violin concerti by Mozart (Nos. 3 and 5), Beethoven, Bruch and Mendelssohn. Thanks to the new, high-resolution audio format 2.2 24bit/192kHz, the listener has the impression of being in the violinist’s immediate vicinity.

In August 2019, Across the Stars, her album with some of the most brilliant works by the composer and multiple Oscar-winner John Williams, was released, for which Williams adapted most of the recorded works especially for her.

Anne-Sophie Mutter, Yo-Yo Ma and Daniel Barenboim recorded Beethoven’s Triple Concerto together, celebrating the composer’s 250th anniversary. The album also commemorates the 20-year anniversary of the founding of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. It was released on May 8, 2020, 40 years after the legendary recording of the Triple Concerto by Anne-Sophie Mutter and Yo-Yo Ma under Herbert von Karajan’s baton.

In August 2020 it was followed by John Williams in Vienna: the legendary American film composer conducted the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time in January 2020; the recording documents this historical performance of film history milestones. For the Musikverein audience, Anne-Sophie Mutter performed a selection of the virtuoso adaptations which Williams created especially for her, including Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter, Devil’s Dance from The Witches of Eastwick and the theme from Sabrina. In February 2021 the so-called “live edition” of this concert appeared, including six bonus tracks and John Williams’ remarks from the podium, introducing each work on the Viennese programme.

“Composed especially for Anne-Sophie Mutter” is the inscription John Williams added to his Violin Concerto No. 2, which the two of them premiered together on July 24, 2021 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In September 2021 the new work was recorded with the same cast as its world premiere, complemented by several new film themes. This CD was released in June 2022.

November 2022 saw the release of a recording of the Double Concerto by Johannes Brahms with the cellist Pablo Ferrández and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Manfred Honeck, as well as Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio with the pianist Lambert Orkis, her long-time musical partner and friend.

Benefit Concerts

Anne-Sophie Mutter also takes a keen interest in alleviating medical and social problems of our times. She supports various causes through regular benefit concerts. Given Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its violation of international law, Anne-Sophie Mutter gave four benefit concerts for the victims in March and April 2022. “Everyone can and must help now,” the artist says. “Words alone are not enough. This is a terrible humanitarian catastrophe – we must stand with the people of Ukraine and with the refugees.”

Anne-Sophie Mutter will perform a benefit gala commemorating the centenary of the Cologne Chamber Orchestra in March 2023, supporting the ensemble’s continued existence and its outstanding orchestral culture.

Awards

The Krzysztof Penderecki Music Academy in Cracow bestowed an honorary doctorate on her in March 2022. In 2019, Anne-Sophie Mutter was honoured to receive the Praemium Imperiale in the music category and she received the Polar Music Prize. Poland awarded the Gloria Artis Gold Medal for Cultural Achievements to Anne-Sophie Mutter in March 2018, making her the first German artist to receive such an honour. In February 2018 she was named an Honorary Member of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Romania awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in the rank of a Grand Officer to Anne-Sophie Mutter in November 2017; during the same month France honoured her by presenting her with the insignia of a Commander of the French Order of the Arts and Literature. In December 2016, the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports awarded her the “Medalla de oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes” (Gold Medal for Merits in the Fine Arts). In January 2015 Anne-Sophie Mutter was named an Honorary Fellow of Keble College at the University of Oxford. In October 2013 she became a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, after winning the medal of the Lutoslawski Society (Warsaw) in January. In 2012 the Atlantic Council bestowed the Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award upon her. In 2011 she received the Brahms Prize as well as the Erich Fromm Prize and the Gustav Adolf Prize for her social activism. In 2010 the Technical-Scientific University of Norway in Trondheim bestowed an honorary doctorate upon her; in 2009 she won the European St. Ulrich Award as well as the Cristobal Gabarron Award. In 2008 Anne-Sophie Mutter was the recipient of the International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize as well as the Leipzig Mendelssohn Prize.

The violinist has been awarded the German Grand Order of Merit, the French Medal of the Legion of Honour, the Bavarian Order of Merit, the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria, and numerous other honours.

Last updated on December 5, 2022

Translation: Alexa Nieschlag

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