Anne-Sophie Mutter: I accept this award for the unemployed

Anne-Sophie Mutter: I accept this award for the unemployed


norman lebrecht

October 19, 2020

The violinist, accepting an OpusKlassik award: ‘Many of my colleagues are not just without work, they are on the poverty line. And it’s not just musicians and their families. It’s the graphic artists who make our programmes, the cloakroom attedants, the caterers and their people. Which of us has not been affected?’



  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Which of us has not been affected? Plenty. Public servants, politicians, those in the medical and ancillary professions, the law, the courts, the police. Plenty of people haven’t been affected. It’s the ‘lifers’ in guaranteed employment who are doing all the dictating.

    The global Lockdown Left; what an ironic turn of events that most of those who support the Left have been AMONGST the worst affected by the lockdown mentality. The authoritarianism is frightening, especially when you consider this disease will be around for a very long time.

    Good luck with trying to maintain an economy, a standard of living and a modicum of freedom.

    • May says:

      Have you ever considered anger management?

      • John Borstlap says:

        My PA offers a private course, since she is an anger expert, and has deep understanding how to generate it and mobilize it in others. It’s not very expensive.

    • V.Lind says:

      You think the medical profession hasn’t been affected? Are you demented? These people have worked round the clock, often away from home and unable to see their families for weeks on end, they have DIED due to their work. They have been under the most incredible pressure from the beginning of this, at times overwhelmed by the caseload. What sort of selfish bitch can’t see and acknowledge that?

      And the police have had to monitor and deal with resisters to rules that most of us accept and support or at least obey. That’s not a happy detail for people whose principal functions are to keep the peace and to catch criminals.

      You live in some sort of very nasty fantasy land in which profit trumps everything and “freedom” is the freedom to make money at all times and at all costs, with as little as possible going to others — you support the lowest possible pay for workers and hate paying taxes, and abhor the idea of our wealthy countries demanding that business pay its fair share of taxes in order to support social services.

      Go off an live in your gated community. (And I don’t care if your actual domicile is in one of those or not; you live in one with that gated mind).

      • Bruce says:

        “You think the medical profession hasn’t been affected? Are you demented?”

        Remember who you’re talking to… 😉

    • Garech de Brun says:

      You are wrong blaming the Left. In the UK it is the Lockdown Right. Bojo the clown show and his nepotistic contracts and appointments. Who else would give the job of Track n Trace to a failed ex-CEO of Talk Talk.

      Revolving doors enable these useless folk to obtain jobs via their pals. The PPE procurement shambles is leading to a Public inquiry.

    • G says:

      Why do you keep coming here Sue Sonata Form? (And what an absurd handle). Nobody likes what you have to say and you’re just a moralising anonymous SJW tit.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Indeed – the entire glamour industry which is wrapped around the classical music business is deeply affected. But that wrapping paper is, for the most part, entirely parasitical and not necessary at all. It is something that has grown around the art form like a fungus grows on something that is dying, it is entirely exploitative. How totally misplaced is the cultivation of stardom, of pop star attitudes (think of pianist X, of organist Y, of singer Z), of players dressing-up as fashion models from coffee table magazines…. It is disgusting, really, and giving-off the message that classical msuic is a brand of luxury entertainment for the well-to-do, and that is a grave lie. Away with all those people sucking the life blood from the art form.

    So, it is the musicians who should be taken care of, and the wrapping should be left to wither. All those people will easily find other subjects to wrap.

    • Olassus says:

      I was with her (and like her greatly) until she brought up the film industry. That is not where our efforts belong, and not to be equated. Stay focused, ASM.

  • papageno says:

    I wonder if Anne-Sophie Mutter would be unemployed if Herbie hadn’t discovered her.

  • anon says:

    oh dear lord, classical music award acceptance speeches, is that even a thing?

    and does it have to mimic the Oscars, vacuous personal statements of vacuous social awareness?

    If you must imitate hollywood actors, try being honest and imitate Sally Fields: “You like me! … You like me!”

  • McBreen says:

    I accept this award for the unemployed. LOL.

    Listen to the great physicist Richard Feynman discuss awards and honours.

  • Dan Villarreal says:

    Thank you for acknowledging what the arts community is facing beyond the pandemic Mr. Lebrecht!

    Poor Sophie finds herself in a luxurious room with the rich feeling pity for her colleagues who are at the end of their rope with no help.

    MSM is too busy feeding the overweening egos of those on the Left who simply don’t care about those who are in dire financial straits, already homeless or have committed suicide. Their hate for one person has blinded them to everything they marketed under the guise of inclusion, educational prowess, respect for others and love. The Left only respects and responds to violence so let it be reciprocated as they covet it so.

    Decent people would rather work and achieve something of value in their lives as opposed to rioting like the ‘burn, loot and murder’ klan or whiny Democrat set who clearly can’t accomplish anything.

    It’s best that the Left continues to devour themselves since they have nothing of substance to offer.


  • Ken says:

    De haut en bas. She feels their pain, let them eat gateau. And she’s sorely missing her makeup attedant. Looking startling like Mattila now.

  • Skippy says:

    She’s speaking in German. How is anyone supposed to understand her?

    (Cue thumbs down from the irony-challenged.)

  • Tony Sanderson says:

    Did she win it for her album with John Williams that I remember Norman bringing to our attention? In any event, it is terrible how music is being damaged by COVID19. I looked to book seats for Vasily Petrenko’s Mahler 2 at the Royal Albert Hall with the RPO in March. There were a lot of seats. I didn’t book because you can’t be sure the concert will go ahead, but I think I will to support the players.

    On a smaller but more personal note, I paid for the commission of a piece for the wonderful choir at my old college at Oxford, New College. The second performance was cancelled on Pentecost Sunday because of the COVID19 pandemic. The first had taken place some months earlier at a service to mark the fortieth anniversary of the admission of woem to the College.

    There must be far more considerably sadder stories than that.

  • Dave says:

    Having one of the highest paid classical artists speaking up for the “lesser folk” is laughable at best.

  • Robert King says:

    With apologies to the handful of people here who criticise A-SM for speaking up for the bedrock of musicians, it is wonderful that someone with influence (and on this occasion a good platform including broadcast media) makes it clear that fine musical colleagues are in poverty because of Covid.

    I outline the situation principally for musicians in the UK, but I have colleagues right across Europe who are in similar situations.

    The majority of the UK’s musicians are freelancers – that’s how the UK system works. You see a great orchestra such as the London Symphony Orchestra? Their instrumentalists are only paid when there is work for them. If there’s no gig, there’s no money,. Except for a handful of “contract” orchestras (i.e. BBC, Royal Opera etc), most comprise freelancers (they may be regular freelancers, but they are only are paid when there is a gig). All those world class chamber and period instrument orchestras, those famous choirs (excepting those of the Oxbridge colleges and the UK’s fine cathedrals)? They are all freelancers. Without paid musical work, they are in desperate straits.

    To compound matters, nearly 40% of the Musicians Union’s members (representative of the majority of the freelance musicians who make up those great orchestras and choirs) have not qualified for the government’s income replacement schemes – that’s because of the quirky way in which UK freelance musicians work: we don’t fit into the rigid categories. As an example, a notable orchestral colleague (she’s also got a PhD so she’s no fool) has had to resort to getting on her bicycle and going around her local area offering to wash cars for £5. That’s the kind of situation for UK musicians.

    So, from many of us UK (and other countries’) freelancers, hats off to Anne-Sophie for stating that colleagues of hers are in poverty. She spoke the truth.

    • Concerned, personally and for others. says:

      Thank you for stating how it is for musicians in the UK because I honestly do not think the vast majority realize that LSO, LPO; Philharmonia and on are all freelance. (With membership, and attendance requirements, but legally freelance) As for the A-SM ‘she’s rich so shut up comments’ frankly who cares. Her charity has done worlds of good, and Sir Simon is not exactly poor and I have yet to see any kind of online hate for his speaking up for UK musicians…

      And A-SM is correct. There is certainly a trickle down effect here. Orchestra librarians, the guys who set up the stage, the cantine workers, the stage hand who opens the door, the woman who calls end of break, the restaurants near halls where people would go before and after performances, the kind woman who serves you an intermission glass of wine, the ticket handlers and on and on. They are all unemployed too.

    • Skippy says:

      Seriously? The LSO is a freelance band? I had no idea.

      • E says:

        ‘freelance’ is perhaps the wrong word… there are auditions and a fixed roster but no one is paid a salary. is it entirely per service. no rehearsals or concert means no income. entirely unlike america or the rest of europe and beyond. and i would add that in normal times most members like it this way.

  • RW2013 says:

    The irresistible Anne-Sophie quite rightly using this opportunity for the first of several (Kaufmann, Buchbinder) impassioned pleas to our government to not let the arts bleed to death. Bravi tutti!

    Otherwise everyone performed their least offensive party piece (nothing wrong with this – how often do we get to hear Pierné these days?) proving the proximity of Classic to Soft-Pop (a real bore was the Rameau-arranging Icelandic pianist), endless laudationes from simpering actresses, and a lighting concept that made our beautiful Konzerthaus look like there should have been a pole-dancer on stage.
    During an evening of teary-eyed close-ups of the suitably distanced audience, the only laugh came when the compère produced the already recorded CD of the evening from his jacket (his whole outfit admirable for having been obviously recycled from some kind of golden wrapping material) “Das letzte Jacket mit CD-Laufwerk!”
    (or was it when John Williams confided that Anne-Sophie is not a woman one can say “no” to?)
    And for his Beethoven concerto movement it seemed that Buchbinder would have liked to have led the small ensemble himself to enjoy HIS tempi rather than those of a conductress who was, even on this evening, way out of her league.

  • Nijinsky says:

    She also simply tries to put forth how art is a treasure, and why….

    I was practicing a Mozart concerto, and some of the stuff there simply one can’t dismiss as being put forth by one person. One has to go further: human instincts, how the mind relates to music, where did the mind come from, how could it exist, how can music envelop emotions and give them a home, making life a bit more tolerable when it seems impossible? You can’t live without such things, and that came first before the whole corporeal existence.

    And you just have to honor it, to go there, to see it’s a resource; and you’ll find all of that out; but you have to let it happen, and you have to go there, and nurture it.

    It really isn’t press the button, take the pill, obey your boss get your money….

    Or even jump on the band wagon….

  • anon says:

    The unemployed: I accept this gig intended for Anne-Sophie Mutter.

  • papageno says:

    Anyone care to translate what she said?
    Such an unpretty language coming from such a pretty head.

    • Not Papagena says:

      Better still, why not use this short speech (in which ASM speaks so beautifully and clearly that even a non-German speaker can understand much of what she says) as an opportunity to learn some German?

      Play it with the stop-start button to hand, listen carefully, engage brain, write down the words phonetically, look at them, use a dictionary. Not only will you part-understand what ASM said, maybe even how beautifully she spoke, but more widely you will hopefully start to understand the texts of all those wonderful works of Schubert, Beethoven, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Mozart, Haydn, and hundreds more.

      You will also maybe start to realise that German is anything but “unpretty” – that’s only because you don’t understand it. Like all languages, it can be expressed beautifully, and sound wonderful, or it can be made to sound ugly. It’s how you speak and use language that makes the difference. Just listen to a few Lieder recordings. The language is anything but ugly.

      There is a certain irony that you choose a pen name from an opera in which the language (sung and spoken) is … German.

  • Madeleine Richardson says:

    What on earth has “the Left” got to do with opera? Having sat in some of the most prestigious opera houses in Europe with men in black tie and women in evening dresses, I honestly never gave a thought that they might be manning the barricades in their spare time.

    I doubt that that opera’s wealthy sponsors are planning to bring down their respective governments any time soon.

  • Dander says:

    How precisely will receiving this award help fiddlers, drummers and songsters on the dole? It smells of Hollywood crap.

  • McBreen says:

    Reminds me of Father Ted’s Golden Cleric Award.

  • TrinkBruder says:

    Aw snap! [Says while thinking] If only I didn’t scold that poor girl I ran out of the Music Hall in Cincinnati for using her phone to film me from the front row. I could be live streaming Utube now