2020

On January 18 and 19, Europe witnessed the Across the Stars programme with John Williams on the conductor’s podium live for the first time: in Vienna, the recipient of several Oscars conducted a selection of his most outstanding works. The concert with the Vienna Philharmonic featured his music for Star Wars, Schindler’s List, Memoirs of a Geisha, Harry Potter, Dracula as well as Munich. As part of the Across the Stars project, Williams rearranged most of the compositions specifically for Anne-Sophie Mutter.

2020 was to see worldwide celebrations of Beethoven’s 250th birthday – Anne-Sophie Mutter had planned to place those of the composer’s violin works in the limelight which have made him immortal. She had conceived four programmes: apart from the Beethoven Violin Concerto, which she combined with the Violin Romances, the Triple Concerto and the Violin Romance No. 3 in F-major Op. 50 was to form a second focus. A third Beethoven programme was to consist of the Violin Sonatas No. 4 in A-minor Op. 23, No. 5 in F-major Op. 24 (“Spring Sonata”) and No. 9 in A-major Op. 47 (“Kreutzer Sonata”). The fourth anniversary programme included the String Trio in C-minor Op. 9 and the String Quartet in E-flat-major Op. 75 (“Harp Quartet”) – this latter concert was also to build a bridge from the avant-garde composer of the 1790s to our present times, by featuring the new string quartet Studie über Beethoven by Jörg Widmann, commissioned by Anne-Sophie Mutter and dedicated to her. This new work was given its world premiere in Tokyo on February 22, 2020.

Shortly after this world premiere, the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to any kind of concert life – with the exception of a few performance opportunities in the late summer.

In November and December, Anne-Sophie Mutter undertook a series of musical performances as part of church services in Germany, joined by former and current fellows of her foundation. The musicians thereby also called attention to the catastrophic economic situation many musicians find themselves in, soliciting donations for the Emergency Fund of the German Orchestra Foundation. Apart from 12 appearances at church services, they also performed at senior citizens’ homes.

Discography

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.

Benefit Concerts

In 2020 three benefit concerts were scheduled, all of which had to be cancelled: one for the foundation “Leipzig hilft Kindern”, one for the London-based organization “Crisis” which is dedicated to helping homeless persons, and one for the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn.

Publications in year 2020

  • John Williams in Vienna
    John Williams in Vienna
    Williams

    John Williams, Wiener Philharmoniker, Anne-Sophie Mutter
  • Beethoven: Triple Concerto  & Symphony no. 7
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto & Symphony no. 7
    Beethoven

    Daniel Barenboim, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

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