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Anne-Sophie Mutter to stage ‘diversity’

German violinist to hold recital on May 3 in Seoul

German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter is coming to Seoul for the first time in three years to hold a recital on May 3 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall.

The Grammy Award winner’s upcoming concert is part of her Asia 2011 tour, taking place from April to May, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of her debut as a soloist in 1976 at the Lucerne Festival.

In Seoul Mutter will perform Debussy’s Violin Sonata in g minor, Mendelssohn’s Violin Sonata in F Major, Mozart’s Violin Sonata KV 454, and Sarasate’s “Carmen Fantasy.”

“The red thread which goes through this upcoming recital program in Seoul is actually diversity. Debussy’s sonata, which is one of my most beloved pieces, was the last piece he wrote,” Mutter said in an email interview with The Korea Herald.

“It is of such utmost delicacy and colorfulness that one can play it a lifetime and not get tired of finding new aspects of letting the violin sing,” she said.

She went on to say that Mozart’s KV 454 is “definitely the masterpiece of the entire Mozart Cycle.”

The artist, under the German classical music label Deutsche Grammophon, is famous for her virtuoso skills both in classical works and contemporary music.

“I try to offer the audience and myself a journey from the Baroque into the future of music and I can’t wait to bring more contemporary music to your wonderful country,” the 47-year-old said.

The Mendelssohn sonata Mutter will play at the Seoul recital is a rather recent addition to her repertoire. She has recorded it with U.S. pianist and conductor Andre Previn, who is her ex-husband.

“It is one of the excitingly exuberant pieces of music, very much in the Summer Night Dreams tradition of the last movement, full of beautiful tunes, deep romanticism and unbelievable virtuosic fireworks,” Mutter said.

To top the evening off, “Carmen Fantasy” cannot be missed, Mutter noted, adding that “everybody will have a great, fun evening.”

For her Asia tour, she invited American pianist Lambert Orkis whom she has known for 22 years.

“We have totally different viewpoints and it’s so exciting to shape them together. The process of finding a common thread between our different viewpoints to shape our repertoire brings great joy,” Mutter said.

She recalled her 1976 audition for legendary late conductor Herbert von Karajan and said the conductor made it easy for the then 13-year-old to perform. 
German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. (Credia)
German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. (Credia)

The audition took place in the Berline Philharmonie and she met him backstage where they discussed the program which she was supposed to play for him.

“He picked Bach’s ‘Chaconne’ and a movement of a Mozart concerto. To my big surprise, he was an extremely warmhearted and easygoing person which made it easy to audition for him that morning,” she said.

A year after the audition, she made her Salzburg debut at the Whitsun Concerts under von Karajan.

“We all miss him dearly ... But for us, he lives on in his recordings.”

Mutter was the only violinist with von Karajan for his every recording and performance for 13 years prior to his death in 1989.

The violinist is active in charity concerts and in supporting young artists as well.

Recently, she held a benefit concert in New York dedicated to the victims of the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan.

She set up the Anne-Sophie Mutter Circle of Friends Foundation in 1997 to support young talent around the world playing the violin, viola, cello and contrabass. The foundation helps students choose their instructors and training programs and provides opportunities to interact with established soloists. The students also get a chance to play with Mutter on stage on a regular basis.

“The most important thing I decide to take on a new project depends very much on the project itself. If it is a benefit project, I have to ensure that the organization I am dedicating my work to is totally serious, transparent and that all the income of that very evening is really arriving at the source of the problem,” she said.

Anne-Sophie Mutter’s recital will be held at 8 p.m. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 180,000 won. For more information, call (02) 318-4301.

By Kim Yoon-mi (