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Five Fun Facts about Anne-Sophie Mutter

04 October, 2023

Star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter is a musical sensation, having graced the world's foremost concert venues for almost 50 years. Throughout her illustrious career, she has left an indelible imprint on the classical music landscape, preserving the legacy of classical composers while actively championing the future of music.

Ahead of her performances with us in November, here are five fun facts about Anne-Sophie Mutter that you might not have known.

1. A child prodigy

Anne-Sophie Mutter was destined to be a star from an early age.

At 6, she won Germany‘s national music competition, the only participant to ever to win a first prize with special distinction.

At 8, she performed on German TV, and at 13 debuted at the world-renowned Lucerne Festival.

Six-year-old Anne-Sophie Mutter receives the 1970 ‘Jugend musiziert’ prize from Käte Strobel, German Minister for Youth, Family and Health. Photo courtesy Anne-Sophie Mutter.

2. Connection to Karajan

At 13, Mutter was invited to perform with the Berlin Philharmonic by legendary conductor Herbert von Karajan. They performed at the 1977 Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele, and the next year made the first of many recordings together: Mozart Violin Concertos Nos. 3 and 5.

The pair worked closely until Karajan’s death in 1989 – she was the only violinist to appear with him in concert and on disc. Their recordings together include the Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Bruch violin concertos, Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with Antonio Meneses, and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello with Mark Zeltser (piano) and Yo-Yo Ma (cello).

Recording Beethoven‘s Triple Concerto. Left-right Mark Zeltser, Herbert von Karajan, Yo-Yo Ma and Anne-Sophie Mutter, September 1979. Photo courtesy Anne-Sophie Mutter.

3. Dedication to the next generation

Anne-Sophie has long been dedicated to nurturing the next generation of musicians. In 1986, aged just 22, she was appointed to the International Chair of Violin Studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

The next year she founded the Rudolf Eberle Trust, which supports young string players throughout Europe. 10 years later she established the Friends of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Trust which supports string players worldwide.

4. Champion of contemporary music

Anne-Sophie has been a champion of contemporary composers, with a number of works either written for or dedicated to her by Henri Dutilleux, Wolfgang Rihm, Sofia Gubaidulina, Kristof Penderecki and Witold Lutosławski.

In recent years Anne-Sophie has established a rich personal and working relationship with legendary film composer John Williams. Williams has composed numerous pieces for Anne-Sophie, including his Violin Concerto No.2 which will receive its Australian premiere with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in November 2023.

Anne-Sophie Mutter and John Williams. Photo by Dario Acosta, courtesy Deutsche Grammophon.

5. An extraordinary collection of awards

Over the course of her glittering career, Anne-Sophie Mutter has received countless awards and prizes. Among these are four Grammy Awards (1994, 1999, 2000, and 2005) and two Echo Klassik awards (2009, 2014).

She has also received honours from many countries for her dedication to humanitarian causes, including the Grand Decoration of Honour of Austria (2007), the Grand Cross Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2009), France's Legion of Honour (2009), Spain's Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts (2016), Romania's Grand Cross National Order of Merit (2017), Poland's Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis (2018) and Japan's Praemium Imperiale (2019).

She also holds honorary memberships at the Royal Academy of Music (1986) and American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013).