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 about 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
The Club Album (Live form Yellow Lounge)

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