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Anne-Sophie Mutter (Violin)

Born: June 29, 1963 - Rheinfelden, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany

The German violinist (and conductor), Anne-Sophie Mutter, began playing the piano at age 5, and shortly afterwards the violin, studying with Erna Honigberger, a pupil of Carl Flesch. Upon Honigberger's death, she continued her studies with Aida Stucki, at the Winterthur Conservatory. After winning several prizes, she was exempted from school to dedicate herself to her art.

Anne-Sophie Mutter embarked on her international career as a soloist in 1976 at the Lucerne Festival. When she was 13, conductor Herbert von Karajan invited her to play with the Berliner Philharmoniker. In 1977, she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival and with the English Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim. She made her first recording with Deutsche Grammophon at the age of 14 with Mozart Violin Concertos Nos. 3 and 5 with Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker; in the years that followed she recorded concertos by L.v. Beethoven (1985), Johannes Brahms (1982, 1983), Bruch (1981) and Felix Mendelssohn (1981/2008).

In 1980, Anne-Sophie Mutter made her American debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. These were followed by first appearances Japan (1981) and Russia (1985). In 1985, at the age of 22, she was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Music (London) and head of its faculty of international violin studies. In 1988, she made a grand tour of Canada and the USA, playing for the first time at Carnegie Hall. In 1998 she played and recorded for CD and DVD the complete set of L.v. Beethoven's Violin Sonatas, accompanied by Lambert Orkis; these were broadcast on television in many countries.

Though her repertoire includes many classical works, Anne-Sophie Mutter is particularly known for her performances of contemporary music. A number of pieces have been especially written for or dedicated to her, including Henri Dutilleux's Sur le même accord, Witold Lutosławski's Partita, Krzysztof Penderecki's Second Violin Concerto and Wolfgang Rihm's Gesungene Zeit ("Time Chant"). In August 2007, she premiered Sofia Gubaidulina's Violin Concerto No. 2 "In tempus präsens". She has received various prizes, including several Grammys. She also owns two Stradivarius violins (The Emiliani of 1703, and the Lord Dunn-Raven of 1710) and a Regazzi, dated 2005. Mutter never plays with a shoulder rest.

In October 2006, on French television, Anne-Sophie Mutter appeared to indicate that she would be retiring when she turned 45, in 2008. However the following month she said that her words were "misinterpreted" and that she would continue to play as long as she felt she could "bring anything new, anything important, anything different to music".

The violinist has also committed herself to alleviating the medical and social problems of our times and gives regular benefit concerts to this end. She has been the recipient of numerous im-portant honours and distinctions, including the Order of the Republic of Germany (First Class), the Bavarian Order of Merit, the Baden-Württemberg Medal of Merit and the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art. In 2002 she was awarded the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art and the Munich Cultural Prize of Honour. In 2003 the Bavarian State Ministry of Science, Research and Art bestowed on her the "Pro Meritis Scientiae et Litterarum" distinction, in 2005 she was made an "Officier de líOrdre des Arts et des Lettres" by the French Minister of Culture and in 2006 she received the Victoire de la Musique in Strasbourg. In 2008 Mutter is awarded the international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize and donates half of the prize money to the "Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation", which will be established during the course of the year, and whose objective is to further increase worldwide support for promising young musicians. She also receives Leipzigís Mendelssohn Prize for "her unique musicality and interpretational skill, and her untiring services to classical music. Her recordings have been crowned with innumerable prizes.

Biographical Timeline


Appointed to the International Chair of Violin Studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. First performance of Lutosławskiís Chain 2, with the Zürich Collegium Musicum under its dedicatee Paul Sacher.


Founds the Rudolf Eberle Trust, which supports young string players throughout Europe. This foundationís activities are complemented ten years later by the establishment of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Circle of Friends Foundation.


Introduces Norbert Moretís En rêve, which is recorded and released in 1991. Releases this year: violin concertos by Igor Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, and Lutosławskiís Chain 2, and Partita for violin, piano and orchestra. Extended recital tour of Canada and the USA.


The Anne-Sophie Mutter Festival, held in London and Stuttgart in October, ranges from the Baroque to the contemporary avant-garde, demonstrating her artistic versatility.


Appears at the Tanglewood and Ravinia festivals in the US. Plays the premiere of Wolfgang Rihmís Gesungene Zeit; Deutsche Grammophonís recording of the Rihm work, coupled with the Alban Berg Concerto, is released this year (Internationaler Schallplattenpreis Frankfurt 1993; Grammy, Edison, Classic CD Awards, 1994; Golden Harmony Award 1995).


CD release of Carmen Fantasy, with James Levine and the Wiener Philharmoniker.


World premiere of Sebastian Currierís Aftersong with Lambert Orkis in Kiel.


World premiere of Pendereckiís Metamorphosen in July, with the MDR Orchestra of Leipzig under Mariss Jansons. Release of the Violin Concerto and other works by Sibelius, with Previn conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle (CD Compact, Barcelona 1996; Edison 1997).


CD release of the Berlin Recital with pianist Lambert Orkis.


Records and performs exclusively L.v. Beethovenís Violin Sonatas all over the world with Orkis (Echo Award 1999; Grammy 2000). Other releases include the premiere recording of Pendereckiís Second Violin Concerto, dedicated to Mutter, with the composer conducting the London Symphony Orchestra (Grammy 1999).


Release of Antonio Vivaldiís Four Seasons, with Mutter as soloist and conductor of the Trondheim Soloists (Amadeus Music, Golden Harmony Awards 2000).


Back to the Future project: a retrospective of 20th-century major violin repertoire with concerts in the USA and Europe and on CD. Tour and recording of Recital 2000, works by Prokofiev, Crumb, Anton Webern and Ottorino Respighi with Orkis (CD Compact Award, Barcelona, 2000). Premiere of Pendereckiís Violin Sonata, commissioned by Mutter, in London.


Performances on two evenings of Mozartís complete Violin Concertos, as artist-in-residence at New Yorkís Carnegie Hall, and, playing and conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker, in Vienna, Baden-Baden, Ingolstadt and Wiesbaden.


Recsessions include works by Gershwin, J. Brahms, Gabriel Fauré, Fritz Kreisler and Tango Song and Dance, composed for her by Previn. Tours Germany and Switzerland with Orkis and Lynn Harrell, performing Piano Trios by L.v. Beethoven, J. Brahms and F. Mendelssohn. Premieres Previnís Violin Concerto, written for her, and records it with the composer conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Grammy 2005). At the Royal Festival Hall she plays the acclaimed world premiere of Henri Dutilleuxís Sur le même accord, dedicated to Mutter, and records it with Kurt Masur conducting the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Echo Award 2005 "World-Premiere Recording of the Year"). Performs the L.v. Beethoven Concerto with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra; the recording wins a CD Compact Award, Barcelona, 2002 and an Echo Award 2003. Plays and conducts the Mozart Concertos with the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Salzburg Festival.


Tour of Germany with the Münchner Philharmoniker under Previn, and a European tour with Previn and Harrell. Concerts in Europe with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and Previn performing Previnís Concerto. The CD Tango Song and Dance furnishes the programme of a European recital tour with Orkis. Performs and records Tchaikovskyís Concerto with Previn and the Wiener Philharmoniker, and performs L.v. Beethovenís Concerto in Berlin with Previn and the Berliner Philharmoniker.


Appearances with the worldís greatest orchestras and conductors, presenting contemporary works composed for or dedicated to her: H. Dutilleux (Sur le même accord, including its USA premiere); Lutosławski (Partita, Interludium, Chain 2); Rihm (Gesungene Zeit); Previn (Violin Concerto "Anne-Sophie") Ė as well as traditional concertos and chamber music. CD release: concertos by Korngold and Tchaikovsky with Previn conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and Wiener Philharmoniker respectively.


The 2005-2006 season features a comprehensive homage to Mozart: she performs the Concertos and Sinfonia concertante (with Yuri Bashmet) as soloist and conductor of the Salzburg Camerata and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; with Orkis she performs the Violin Sonatas on a world tour; and with Previn and Daniel Müller-Schott she plays the Piano Trios in Europe. Further performances of concertos by L.v. Beethoven, Previn and Korngold with Previn and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and L.v. Beethoven with Kurt Masur and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Echo Awards as "Instrumentalist of the Year" (concertos by Tchaikovsky and Korngold), while her interpretation of H. Dutilleuxís Sur le même accord is named "World-Premiere Recording of the Year".


Concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Kurt Masur (L.v. Beethoven) in Great Britain, Ireland and the USA; with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Pierre Boulez (Rihm Gesungene Zeit) in Switzerland; and with the SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra under Previn (L.v. Beethoven) in Stuttgart. At the Lucerne Festival she celebrates the 30th anniversary of her concert debut with recitals of Mozart Violin Sonatas together with Orkis, which she also performs throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East. At further Mozart Festival concerts, she directs the Tivoli Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. Releases include: Mozart Piano Trios with Previn and Daniel Müller-Schott, and a 4-CD set of Violin Sonatas with Orkis. On DVD: Mozartís Violin Concertos and the Violin Sonatas, each in a 2-disc set.


Concerts with Previn conducting the Wiener Symphoniker (L.v. Beethoven) in Vienna, the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam (Tchaikovsky) in Amsterdam and Germany, and the London Symphony Orchestra (S. Gubaidulina) in London; with Kurt Masur and the Orchestre National de France in Paris and Madrid (Previnís Concerto "Anne-Sophie"); and with Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (Alban Berg) in New York. She directs the London Philharmonic Orchestra in Luxemburg and Manchester (Mozart Concertos Nos. 1, 3 and 5), tours Europe with the Trondheim Soloists led by her in a Bach Festival programme, and performs J. Brahms at the Verbier Festival. Further performances of Mozartís Violin Sonatas with Orkis in Germany and Switzerland. In April she premieres Previnís Concerto for Violin and Double Bass with Roman Patkoló and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Previn, and in August she premieres S. Gubaidulinaís Violin Concerto In tempus praesens with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle at the Lucerne Festival. Releases this year: Simply Anne-Sophie - an album with a unique collection of her Deutsche Grammophon recordings, a 5-DVD set of Mozartís Violin Concertos, Sonatas and Trios, and a single DVD with the Piano Trios.


The year begins with a benefit concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Seiji Ozawa, with whom she goes on a tour "in memory of Herbert von Karajanís 100th birthday" throughout Europe. In the double function of soloist and conductor she tours with the Salzburg Camerata in the USA and with the Trondheim Soloists in the Far East (J.S. Bachís Violin Concerto No. 2, A. Vivaldiís Four Seasons) and with Orkis on a tour of the USA and in Germany, Denmark, Zurich and Vienna (J. Brahmsís Violin Sonatas). Release of her album with Bach Concertos BWV 1041 & 1042 with the Trondheim Soloists coupled with the world-premiere recording of S. Gubaidulinaís ViolinConcerto In tempus praesens, which was dedicated to Anne-Sophie Mutter, with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. Receives Leipzigís Mendelssohn Prize and the Ernst von Siemens Music Award.


First performances of S. Gubaidulinaís In tempus praesens in Germany and Spain. Anne-Sophie Mutter tours Switzerland and Germany with the SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra under Previn; she performs F. Mendelssohnís Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur in New York, on a European tour with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra under Jukka-Pekka Saraste, with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal under Frühbeck de Burgos in Canada, and with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Tilson Thomas in San Francisco; in Carnegie Hall, world premiere of Previnís Piano Trio with Harrell and Previn, and of Previnís Concerto for Violin and Viola with Bashmet and the Orchestra of St. Lukeís under Previn. Release of F. Mendelssohnís Violin Concerto with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Kurt Masur coupled with chamber works by the same composer accompanied by Previn and Harrell.

Personal Life

In 1989, Mutter married her first husband, Detlef Wunderlich, with whom she had two children, Arabella and Richard. Wunderlich died of cancer in 1995. She married the pianist and conductor André Previn in 2002. However, on August 21, 2006, Mutter's office announced that she and Previn had divorced. The couple were rumoured to have separated three months previously, but confirmed their divorce as of the above date.

Awards and recognitions

Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance:
Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis for L.v. Beethoven: The Violin Sonatas (Nos. 1-3, Op. 12; Nos. 1-3, Op. 30; "Spring" Sonata) (2000)
Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra):
Anne-Sophie Mutter and André Previn (conductor) for Previn: Violin Concerto "Anne-Sophie"/Leonard Bernstein: Serenade (2005)
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Krzysztof Penderecki (conductor) and the London Symphony Orchestra for Penderecki: Violin Concerto No. 2, Metamorphosen (1999)
Anne-Sophie Mutter, James Levine (conductor) and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Alban Berg: Violin Concerto/Rihm: Time Chant (1994)
Sonning Award (2001; Denmark)
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, First Class
Herbert von Karajan Music Prize (2003)
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2005)
Victoires de la Musique Classique (2006)
Ernst von Siemens Music Prize (2008)

"The exemplary Anne-Sophie Mutter has inaugurated an era of superb, masterly and expressive violin playing!"- Süddeutsche Zeitung (April 2008)

More Photos

Source: Deutsche Grammophon Website (November 2008); Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2009)

Anne-Sophie Mutter: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Anne-Sophie Mutter (Official Website)
Anne Sophie Mutter - A Biographical Timeline (Deutsche Grammophon)
Anne-Sophie Mutter - Featured Artist
Anne-Sophie Mutter - German musician) (Britannica Encyclopedia)
Anne-Sophie Mutter (Wikipedia)
The Reigning Diva of the Violin Embraces Contemporary Music (Wall Steet Journal)
Anne-Sophie Mutter - The fiddler who should be banned (LSM)
FanFaire celebrates Anne-Sophie Mutter interview with Anne-Sophie Mutter

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, December 18, 2017 06:58