Anne-Sophie Mutter

Violin

Schubert Club Performances:

  • February 25, 1991
  • November 8, 2006
  • March 11, 2013

Anne-Sophie Mutter

Anne-Sophie Mutter was a 13-year-old girl from the southwest corner of Germany studying violin at a conservatory just across the border in Switzerland when she came to the attention of Herbert von Karajan. The fabled maestro asked her to play for him, proclaimed her a “phenomenon”, and engaged her to play Mozart’s G major Concerto with him and the Berlin Philharmonic in Salzburg in May 1977. They repeated and recorded it in Berlin the following February. Thus began a collaboration that lasted until Karajan’s death in 1989. Here is Mutter playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto in 1984 with Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic:

By the time she made her Schubert Club debut in 1991, Anne-Sophie Mutter was indisputably a virtuoso superstar. The epithet that seems to have been attached more than any other to her and her playing is “serious”. Another apt description would be “intense”. One critic wrote that “she has the ability to command attention, almost to force you to listen to the music afresh”. Her first Schubert Club program was all Brahms sonatas. When she returned in 2006, she played all Mozart sonatas. At her most recent St. Paul appearance, in 2013, the mixed program was anchored by a work by the great modern Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, with whom Mutter had by then developed a close working relationship. She played his Partita for violin and piano from 1984 (incidentally, a piece composed for Pinchas Zukerman and Mark Neikrug and premiered by them at the Ordway in St. Paul). Around that time Lutosławski heard Anne-Sophie Mutter give the premiere of another of his works and was so taken with her playing that he orchestrated the Partita for her in 1988. This is the Deutsche Grammphon recording of the work (audio only) they made that year in London:

In the last decades, Mutter has premiered other works by composers including her late second husband, André Previn. She’s also taken increasingly to conducting works she plays. Here she is in 2011 rehearsing Mozart with the Boston Symphony:

In 2013, she made an exceptionally fine recording of the Dvořák Violin Concerto. Here is a trailer that also contains Berlin Philharmonic musicians reminiscences about Mutter’s debut with the orchestra 35 years before:

Artist note by Richard Evidon

From the Schubert Club Archive:

Mutter featured on the official poster for the 1990-91 International Artist Series

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Signed photo of Mutter from 1991

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Mutter featured on a local advertisement for the 1990-91 International Artist Series

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Artist Archive