Interview with violin virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE
  • Updated: March 13, 2013 - 12:31 PM

Globetrotter Anne-Sophie Mutter is back in the Twin Cities for a Schubert Club recital.


Anne-Sophie Mutter says it is “a wonderful coincidence that I am playing Schubert with the Schubert Club.”

Photo: Harald Hoffmann • Deutsche Grammophon ,

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Anne-Sophie Mutter hadn’t been in the Twin Cities for seven years, so the celebrated German violinist decided it was time to check back in with her local fans. “I don’t want to lose my audience,” she said by phone from San Francisco last week. “But the world is very large, and for an artist who is playing only 80 to 90 concerts a year, it sometimes takes a while to get around.”

Mutter is on a two-week tour of the United States — a swift, concentrated schedule that allows many dates and gets her back home with her children on the Austrian border.

At the Ordway Center on Monday, Mutter will dispatch music of Mozart, Schubert, Lutoslawski and Saint-Saëns in a Schubert Club program with her longtime collaborator, Lambert Orkis.

Reviews frequently comment on Mutter’s glamorous strapless gowns (“I have to wear something!”) but the attire serves a purpose. She likes the feel of her 1710 Stradivarius on her bare shoulder. It’s more comfortable and produces a better sound.

“The only issue is whether the humidity of the skin would affect the varnish,” she said. “But that has not been a problem, and I am not a big sweater.”

Mutter, a two-time Grammy winner, should not have a problem with perspiration in cold St. Paul.


Q Are you ready for a change in weather?

A Are you snowed in? I’ll get my scarf out. But I’m used to severe winter in Germany, where we now have snow up to your knees.


Q You have a varied program on this tour.

A Yes, I’m playing Schubert and that was a wonderful coincidence that I am playing Schubert with the Schubert Club. The program consists of the pieces which Lambert and I have played together and fondly love, like the Schubert [Fantasy in C Major]. That is one piece we enjoy coming back to because it is probably the most sophisticated work written for piano and violin. That said, the Lutoslawksi [Partita for Piano and Violin] is key to the program because he was the composer in 1986 that really opened the door for me to the future of music, contemporary music.


Q Do you treat favorite pieces as though they are your children?

A They never talk back to you. But they are very difficult to grasp. These pieces have a life of their own, and the classical work is burdened with stylistic expectations and you have to dig deep to remove all that and find your own personal approach.


Q In 1994, you spoke of the anxiety you felt right before the concert stage door opened each night.

  • anne-sophie mutter and lambert orkis

    What: Music of Mozart, Schubert, Lutoslawski and Saint Saëns.

    When: 7:30 p.m. Mon.

    Where: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 5th and Washington Sts., St. Paul.

    Tickets: $15-$60. 651-224-4222 or

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