Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has been awarded Sweden’s 2019 Polar Music Prize, considered the music world’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. She receives one million Swedish krona, approximately $151,910AUD. Classical luminaries to have been honoured in the past include Rostropovich in 1995, Pierre Boulez in 1996, Isaac Stern in 2000, Sofia Gubaidulina in 2002, György Ligeti in 2004, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in 2005, Steve Reich in 2007, Renée Fleming in 2008, Yo-Yo Ma in 2012, Kaija Saariaho in 2013 and Cecilia Bartoli in 2016.
Anne-Sophie Mutter. Photo © Bastian Achard
“It is a huge honour to be in this illustrious group of musicians who have received the Polar Music Prize. I’m deeply honoured and humbled and I can’t wait to come to Stockholm and meet the other recipients,” said Mutter, who was recently awarded Limelight’s 2018 International Artist of the Year: People’s Choice.
“Anne-Sophie Mutter is a musical phenomenon,” the awards committee said. “For more than 40 years the German violinist has thrilled audiences around the world with her virtuosity and astonishing clarity. The four-time Grammy Award winner is equally committed to the performance of traditional and modern composers, to date she has played the world premieres of 26 works, and has had many pieces composed for her.
“As well as a packed international concert calendar, Anne-Sophie Mutter dedicates herself to numerous benefit projects and through her two charitable institutions supports future generations of musicians.”
Mutter first shot to fame when conductor Herbert von Karajan invited the violinist to audition for him after seeing the then 13-year-old play at the Lucerne Festival in 1976. Over her 40 year career, Mutter has played with the world’s best orchestras and conductors, and is generally considered one of today’s best violinists. She played with the Sydney Symphony and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras only last year.
The Prize is usually awarded to one classical and one pop musician every year, with Mutter’s fellow winners hip hop DJ Grandmaster Flash and the Playing For Change Foundation, which provides music education through 15 projects internationally.
The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm on June 11.