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.

Chapter: Musical Education

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

Anne-Sophie Mutter in the Stax , 2019

Musical education

Aerial view of Rheinfelden (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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.

Aida Stucki (Photo: Beat Pfändler/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
Chapter: Debuts

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.

Herbert von Karajan (Photo: Bundesarchiv Bild)
Daniel Barenboim in Vienna, 2008 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Beethoven: Violinkonzert, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker, 1979 (Photo: Deutsche Grammophon)
The early years
With Polar Music Prize Laureate Yo-Yo Ma, Herbert von Karajan, and Mark Zeltser
With violinist Salvatore Accardo
Chapter: 80s-90s

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.

Carnegie Hall, New York City.

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.





With Polar Music Prize Laureate Witold Lutoslawski and Paul Sacher
With Witold Lutoslawski
With Polar Music Prize Laureate Mstislav Rostropovich
Chapter: Foundation

The Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation

The Mutter Virtuosi, in Seoul at the Arts Center, June 14, 2013 (Photo: © Hyuckhoon Moon )

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.

The 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.
Chapter: 2000

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
The Club Album (Live form 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
Chapter: Friends and collabs
The Polar Music Prize Laureate Playlist


The week started with the Polar Talks at Spegelsalen, Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. Anne-Sophie Mutter was interviewed by Sofia Nyblom.

(Photo: Annika Berglund/© Polar Music Prize)
(Photo: Annika Berglund/© Polar Music Prize)
(Photo: Annika Berglund/© Polar Music Prize)
Polar Talks 2019: interview with Laureate Anne-Sophie Mutter
Polar Talks 2019: exclusive interview with Laureate Grandmaster Flash
Polar Talks 2019: Polar Music Prize Laureates from the Playing for Change Foundation


Polar Music Prize Pre-Party 2019 @ CFHILL
Polar Music Prize Pre-Party 2019 @ CFHILL
Polar Music Prize Pre-Party 2019 / Mr A @ CFHILL


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

Anne-Sophie Mutter on the pink carpet
Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke from The Playing For Change Foundation on the pink carpet
Grandmaster Flash and Anne-Sophie Mutter on the pink carpet
Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Central Europe Universal Music and Deutsche Grammophon, reading the citation for Anne-Sophie Mutter
H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anne-Sophie Mutter receives the Polar Music Prize
The Playing For Change Foundation, Grandmaster Flash & Anne-Sophie Mutter
Leidenschaftlich from “Sechs Stücke” performed by Cecilia Zilliacus, violin and Migdal Strings
Meditation from Thais performed by Hansine Pellbäck and students from Lilla Akademien
GIGUE from “I dreamt of a Bach Cello Concerto” performed by Svante Henryson, cello and Migdal Strings
At the banquet in Vinterträdgården, Grand Hôtel
At the banquet in Vinterträdgården, Grand Hôtel
At the banquet in 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
GIGUE from “I dreamt of a Bach Cello Concerto”
The Laureates and the Royal Family