1. The Polar Music Prize Cermony
2. Musical Education
3. Debuts
4. 80s-90s
5. Foundation
6. 2000
7. The Violins
2019 Laureate


The Polar Music Prize 2019 is awarded to the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, known as ’the Queen of the Violin’. She grew up in a small village in the Black Forest. By the age of five, it was obvious that the football-playing girl had an exceptional musical talent. At the age of 13, she auditioned for Herbert von Karajan. The following year, she started playing with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the years, several of the world's foremost modern composers have written music specially for her. With her Stradivarius under her chin, Anne-Sophie Mutter is not just one passionate and risk-taking musician – she is also a storyteller. As she herself said, “Music is only touching when it tells a story.” With her passionate commitment to justice, Mutter demonstrates the power and key role of music in the world.


The Laureates and the Royal Family

Stockholm, 11 June 2019

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

Anne-Sophie Mutter receives the Polar Music Prize

As a soloist you are a servant of the music, which takes stamina and backbone

Anne-Sophie Mutter in the Stax, 2019

Musical Education

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

A young virtuoso

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

Rise to stardom

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

The Mutter Virtuosi, in Seoul at the Arts Center, June 14, 2013

The Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation

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.

Bold performances

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

The Violins

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.