Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anne-Sophie Mutter B10-13.jpg
Anne-Sophie Mutter speaks in Berlin, Germany in October 2013
Rheinfelden, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany
Detlef Wunderlich
(m. 1989; died 1995)

(m. 2002; div. 2006)
Musical career
Years active1976–present

Anne-Sophie Mutter (born 29 June 1963) is a German violinist. She was supported early in her career by Herbert von Karajan. As an advocate of contemporary music, she has had several works composed especially for her, by Sebastian Currier, Henri Dutilleux, Sofia Gubaidulina, Witold Lutosławski, Norbert Moret, Krzysztof Penderecki, André Previn, Wolfgang Rihm,[1] John Williams and others. Since her orchestral debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1977, Mutter has performed as a prominent soloist with numerous leading orchestras worldwide.

Early life

Mutter was born in the German town of Rheinfelden, Baden-Württemberg which lies some 15 kilometres (9 mi) east of Basel on the northern bank of the High Rhine river, across which lies the Swiss town of the same name. Her parents were Karl Wilhelm Mutter and Gerlinde Mutter and she was raised with two older brothers. While Mutter's father was a journalist, who edited a newspaper in Baden-Württemberg, her mother was the first woman in her family to graduate from college. Although no one in her family played a musical instrument, Mutter's family was passionate about classical music.[2]

Mutter began playing the piano at the age of five, and shortly afterwards took up the violin. At the age of six, Mutter won the National Music Prize, and in 1972, she gave her first concert with the Winterthurer Stadtorchester.[3] Inspired by a recording of violinist Yehudi Menuhin and Wilhelm Furtwängler, she began studying with Erna Honigberger, a pupil of Carl Flesch. After Honigberger's death she continued her studies with Aida Stucki at the Winterthur Conservatory.[4]


Mutter's playing began to receive attention and she stopped attending school to devote herself full-time to music. Conductor Herbert von Karajan arranged for her to play with the Berlin Philharmonic. Only 13 years old at the time, she made her public debut on stage in 1976 at the Lucerne Festival, where she played Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major. In 1977, she performed at the Salzburg Festival and with the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Critics praised the level of maturity in Mutter's performance, with one reviewer of Die Welt writing, "“She played it ravishingly, and above all, she did not play it at all like a child prodigy. Her technique is fully mature.”[5] At 15, Mutter made her first recording of the Mozart Third and Fifth violin concerti with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic.[4]

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.[6] 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.

In October 2006, on French television, Mutter appeared to indicate that she would be retiring when she turned 45, in 2008.[7] 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".[8]


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." Her ex husband, conductor and composer André Previn, dedicated his Violin Concerto "Anne-Sophie" (2001) to her; they recorded the pièce with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and were awarded a Grammy for the recording in 2005.[9]

World renowned film score composer and five times Academy Awards winner John Williams composed original music for her, including a pièce for violin, strings and harp called "Markings" (2017), a collection of arrangements of movie themes composed by him for violin and orchestra (recorded by Mutter and Williams with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles in "Across the Stars", 2019[10]) and Williams' second violin concerto (composed 2021, to be recorded by Mutter with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the author as conductor, in 2022[11]). Mutter also appeared as soloist in John Williams' debut concert with the Wiener Philharmoniker on 28 and 29 January 2020, recorded by Deutsche Grammophon and released in the live album "John Williams in Vienna", which became the best-selling album of orchestral music in 2020.[12]

She has received various prizes, including several Grammys throughout her career and the Polar Music Prize and the Praemium Imperiale, both in 2019.[13][14]


Mutter is known for performing in strapless gowns. Mutter explained that she felt having fabric on her shoulder made it too slippery to hold her violin firmly while she was playing.[15][16]


She owns two Stradivarius violins: the Emiliani of 1703, and the Lord Dunn-Raven Stradivarius of 1710.[17][18] She also owns a Finnigan-Klaembt dated 1999 and a Regazzi dated 2005.[19]

Public engagement

Throughout her career, Mutter has held many benefit concerts for various organizations such as Save the Children Japan, Save the Children Yemen, Artists against Aids, the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Hanna and Paul Gräb Foundation’s Haus der Diakonie in Wehr-Öflingen, the Bruno Bloch Foundation, Beethoven Fund for Deaf Children, SOS Children’s Villages in Syria and others.[20] Since March 2022, Mutter has been giving benefit concerts for Ukrainians in light of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[21]

Mutter founded the Association of Friends of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation e.V. in 1997 and further established the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation in 2008, which supports young stringed instrument players and provides scholarships for talented individuals. [22] In 2021, Anne-Sophie Mutter was elected president of the German Cancer Aid.[23]

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.[24] She dedicated her 1999 recording, Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, to his memory.[25] She married the pianist, composer, and conductor André Previn in 2002.[26][27] The couple divorced in 2006,[28] but continued to collaborate musically and maintained their friendship.[29]

Awards and recognition


Deutsche Grammophon:

EMI Classics:


  1. ^ Carnegie Hall Playbill, 11 November 2014, p. 38.
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  6. ^ "Honorary Members of the Royal Academy of Music (Oct.14, 2009)". Royal Academy of Music. 14 October 2009. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
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  9. ^ McDermott, Tricia (14 February 2019). "2005 Grammy Award winners". CBS. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
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  12. ^ "John Williams in Vienna: 2020s best-selling orchestral album is released as new double-album fan edition". Retrieved 28 December 2021.
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  14. ^ a b Cullingford, Martin (17 September 2019). "Anne-Sophie Mutter receives Praemium Imperiale Award". Gramophone. London. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  15. ^ Henry, Derrick (28 February 1997). "Contemporary Twist". The Atlanta Constitution. p. 128. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
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  24. ^ Kjemtrup, Inge (January 2006). "Goddess with a Gift". Strings (135). Every tragedy, or every really wonderful moment in your life, changes you as a person, and hopefully makes you a better person, more sensible, more sensitive, more caring — more thankful for life.
  25. ^ Liner Notes, Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (Deutsche Grammophon, 1999): 3.
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  28. ^ "Conductor André Previn to divorce". BBC News. 21 August 2006.
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  41. ^ "Anne-Sophie Mutter celebrates Keble Honorary Fellowship". Archived from the original on 4 May 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  42. ^ "Fundación Albéniz. Otros programas. Premio Yehudi Menuhin". Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  43. ^ "Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
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