“In gratitude for my first concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Mr. von Karajan,” the 13-year-old Anne-Sophie Mutter wrote on a greeting card after her spectacular performance at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in May 1977. The handwriting may still be very child-like, but not her interpretation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s G major Violin Concerto. “She played it gorgeously, and above all, not at all like a child prodigy. Her technique is fully mature,” raved the reviewer in Die Welt. The following year she performed the work at the Philharmonie in Berlin, where she also enthralled audiences. Despite all the praise, some critics wondered whether she would be able to shed the child prodigy image.
She would, as she proved shortly afterwards when, in 1980, the 16-year-old performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Karajan. The press reacted enthusiastically: She played “with a song-like sound and mature sensitivity” (Der Abend). They marvelled at the special connection, the artistic rapport which existed between soloist, conductor and orchestra – no matter what great violin concerto was being performed. Anne-Sophie Mutter has gone on to have an unparalleled international career. A particular interest of the artist is new music, and many contemporary composers have written works for her: Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henri Dutilleux, Wolfgang Rihm and Sofia Gubaidulina, whose work In tempus praesens Anne-Sophie Mutter premiered together with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle in 2007.
A special highlight of her performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker was the concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of Herbert von Karajan’s birth, conducted by Seiji Ozawa. It is no coincidence that the violinist performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, the work she performed most frequently with Karajan. “Anne-Sophie Mutter, a truly prodigious talent in the art of expression, whose playing of Beethoven left no one unmoved,” as the Berliner Zeitung reported. And there is something else of particular importance that connects the artist with the Berliner Philharmoniker: a tireless commitment to the next generation of artists – demonstrated by the joint concert of the students of the Orchestra Academy and the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation in June 2012. The violinist can be heard in the Philharmonic concerts on 7, 8 and 9 February 2013 under the direction of Manfred Honeck, performing Dvořák’s Violin Concerto and the Romance for violin and orchestra.