Anne-Sophie Mutter (born 29 June 1963) is a German violinist. She was supported early in her career by Herbert von Karajan, and has had several works composed specially for her, including ones by Sebastian Currier, Henri Dutilleux, Sofia Gubaidulina, Witold Lutosławski, Norbert Moret, Krzysztof Penderecki, André Previn, Wolfgang Rihm, and John Williams.
Mutter was born in the German town of Rheinfelden, which lies some 15 km East of Basel on the northern bank of the High Rhine river, across which lies the Swiss town of the same name. She began playing the piano at the age of five, and shortly afterwards took up the violin, studying with Erna Honigberger, a pupil of Carl Flesch. After Honigberger's death she continued her studies with Aida Stucki at the Winterthur Conservatory.
After winning several prizes, Mutter was exempted from school to dedicate herself to music full-time. At age 13, she was invited by Herbert von Karajan to play with the Berlin Philharmonic, and she made her public debut on stage in 1976 at the Lucerne Festival, playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major. In 1977, she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival and with the English Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim. At 15, Mutter made her first recording of the Mozart Third and Fifth violin concerti with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic.
In 1980, Mutter made her American debut with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. 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 and in 1986 an honorary member. In 1988, she made a grand tour of Canada and the United States, playing for the first time at Carnegie Hall. In 1998 she played and recorded for CD and DVD the complete set of Beethoven's Violin Sonatas, accompanied by Lambert Orkis; these were broadcast on television in many countries.
Though her repertoire includes many classical works, Mutter is particularly known for her performances of contemporary music. Several pieces have been specially written for or dedicated to her, including Henri Dutilleux's Sur le même accord, Krzysztof Penderecki's Second Violin Concerto, Witold Lutosławski's Chain 2 and the orchestral version of Partita, and Wolfgang Rihm's Gesungene Zeit ("Time Chant"), Lichtes Spiel, and Dyade. In August 2007, she premiered Sofia Gubaidulina's Violin Concerto No. 2 "In tempus praesens." She has received various prizes, including several Grammys.
In October 2006, on French television, 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".
She owns two Stradivarius violins (The Emiliani of 1703, and the Lord Dunn-Raven Stradivarius of 1710), a Finnigan-Klaembt dated 1999, and a Regazzi dated 2005. Mutter does not use a shoulder rest when playing; her need for traction with the violin has also led her to wear the same style of strapless dresses. Her first concert dresses were from Chanel. From there, she added Givenchy to her closet and then John Galliano of Dior, until his anti-Semitic outburst in 2011 caused her to cut ties. She currently wears dresses by British couturier Nicholas Oakwell.
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 dedicated her 1999 recording, Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, to his memory. She married the pianist and conductor André Previn in 2002. The couple divorced in 2006, but have continued to collaborate musically and maintained their friendship.
Awards and recognition
- Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance:
- Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra):
- Anne-Sophie Mutter and André Previn (conductor) for Previn: Violin Concerto "Anne-Sophie"/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 Berg: Violin Concerto/Rihm: Time Chant (1994)
- Order of Merit of Baden-Württemberg (1999)
- Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art (1999)
- Sonning Award (2001; Denmark)
- Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art (2002)
- Herbert von Karajan Music Prize (Baden-Baden, 2003)
- Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2005)
- Victoires de la Musique Classique (2006)
- Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (2007)
- Ernst von Siemens Music Prize (2008)
- Mendelssohn Prize (Music category) (Leipzig, 2008)
- Merit Cross 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse) (2009)
- Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur (France, 2009) for her commitment to the works of contemporary music by French
- Echo Klassik as Instrumentalist (2009)
- European St. Ulrichs Prize (July 2009)
- Doctor Honoris Causa from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2010)
- Prize of the Cultural Foundation of Dortmund
- Brahms Prize (Brahms Society of Schleswig-Holstein, 2011)
- Atlantic Council Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award (2012)
- Bavarian Order of Merit
- Cultural Honour of the City of Munich
- Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music
- Erich Fromm Prize for her comprehensive social work (2011)
- Gustav Adolf Prize of Gustav-Adolf-Werk of the Evangelical Church in Hesse-Nassau for her socially diaconal commitment
- Naming of Anne-Sophie-Mutter-Weg (Eng: Anne-Sophie Mutter way)
- The Medal of the Lutosławski Centennial (January 25, 2013)
- Named a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (April 2013)
- Echo Klassik 2014 for the album 'Dvořák'
- Named an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford
- 11th Yehudi Menuhin Prize from the Foundation Albeniz (2016)
- Medalla de Oro al Merito en las bellas Artes (2016)
- Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis (2018)