Anne-Sophie Mutter, Grandmaster Flash and The Playing For Change Foundation received the Polar Music Prize 2019 at a ceremony at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm in June 2019. Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke (founder of The Playing For Change Foundation) attended the event, as well as Anne-Sophie Mutter and Grandmaster Flash.
Several artists honoured the Laureates during the evening; Mapei, Danny Saucedo, Stran, Ambra Succi, Extended Family, Cecilia Zilliacus, DJ Cheza, DJ Eka Scratch, Esther Kirabo, Jelassi, Svante Henryson, Hansine Pellbäck, Siri Henryson, Joel Henryson, Isak Dennholt, Vilma Ogenblad, Alicia Savbäck, Migdal Strings and students from Lilla Akademien. Host of the evening was Swedish mezzo-soprano and journalist Boel Adler. The banquet was aired on TV4 in Sweden.
The Polar Music Prize band, conducted by Svante Henryson were:
Svante Henryson – bass
Mattias Yilbar Norgren – beat box
Andy Pfeiler – guitar
Hans Gardemar – keyboard
Vinterträdgården, Grand Hôtel
Leidenschaftlich from “Sechs Stücke” performed by Cecilia Zilliacus and Migdal Strings
Meditation from Thais performed by Hansine Pellbäck and students from Lilla Akademien
As a soloist you are a servant of the music, which takes stamina and backbone
Anne-Sophie Mutter in the Stax, 2019
Anne-Sophie Mutter was born 1963 in Rheinfelden, Baden, right on the Swiss border. She started playing the piano at the age of five, and shortly after the violin. Her talent was obvious already at this young age.
Early teachers were Ms Erna Honigberger and Aida Stuck, both renowned violin musical teachers.
Aerial view of Rheinfelden (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Aida Stucki (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Aida Stucki is my guiding star in every respect - an incomparable violinist, a noble human being and a fantastic woman.
Anne-Sophie Mutter's international career took off already in 1976 when she met and played for the Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan and shortly after made her English debut with Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim.
The early years
With Polar Music Prize Laureate Yo-Yo Ma, Herbert von Karajan, and Mark Zeltser
With violinist Salvatore Accardo
The world opened up to the young virtuoso after her European debuts, and ASM crossed the Atlantic ocean and debuted in the US as well in 1980 and did her first Carnegie Hall recital in 1988.
During the 1990s, Anne-Sophie Mutter became one of the world's most famous soloist, thanks to her interpretations of classic work, but also by commissioning and performing new works for the violin. Among the contemporary composers she has worked with are Polar Music Prize Laureates Witold Lutoslawski, Mstislav Rostropovich, Wolfgang Rihm, Sebastian Currier and Krzysztof Penderecki.
Carnegie Hall, New York City.
With Polar Music Prize Laureate Mstislav Rostropovich
Anne-Sophie Mutter's first foundation started in 1997 with the aim to promote and help young musicians. The idea of support and encouragement is essential to a young musician, as she experienced herself having started at a young age. In 2008, the Anne Sophie Mutter Foundation was created, with the objective of being a global support of young, highly talented violin, viola, cello and contrabass soloists. Young musicians can get support and promotion from scholarships, commissioned work and the Mutter Virtuosi, a growing ensemble of young scholarship virtuosi hand picked by ASM. The Mutter Virtuosi regularly go on tour, playing big concert halls around the world.
The Foundation also presents the Aida Stucki award, as a tribute to one of Mutter's first teachers. The first to be awarded in 2011 was the double bass player Roman Patkoló.
The Mutter Virtuosi at Carnegie Hall
Recording with some of the Mutter virtuosi, and the first Aida Stucki award Laureate Roman Patkoló.
Music is only touching when it tells a story. And I am on the track of upcoming story tellers.
Anne-Sophie Mutter on the purpose of the Foundation.
Anne-Sophie Mutter has constantly stretched musical limits and the classical music framework. In 2013, she performed in a club in Berlin, bringing Vivaldi, Bach, Saint-Saëns and other classical composers to a rock stage.
In September 2019 she will perform an open air concert in München for the first time, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and John Williams.
Anne-Sophie Mutter at the Yellow Lounge
Poster for the open air concert in September 2019
Anne-Sophie Mutter owns two Stradivarius violins, The Emiliani of 1703, and the Lord Dunn-Raven Stradivarius of 1710.
It took a Stradivarius to open my ears.
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Spiegel online. 2008
Content of biography is presented here as it was published in 2019.
Header photo and portrait by Bastian Achard.
All pictures from Polar Talks, the ceremony and the banquet by Annika Berglund, © Polar Music Prize.