Anne-Sophie Mutter: I only became human when I was a widow

Anne-Sophie Mutter: I only became human when I was a widow


norman lebrecht

March 21, 2023

The German violinist has emerged from making a cinematic bio-doc with such close pals as Roger Federer and Daniel Barenboim.

She lifts the veil on the film for BR Klassik:

BR-KLASSIK: In this documentary by Sigrid Faltin you experience it in an unusually private way. Among other things, you say that you only really became human when you were a widow…

Anne-Sophie Mutter: …that is of course very exaggerated, but the confrontation with death and how quickly life changes with a cancer diagnosis, makes you very aware of how finite and fragile our life is. It made me appreciate human relationships even more. And it has fueled my interest in charity work. It actually broadened my focus on the others, on life outside of my violin playing. And it made me aware that I’m not there to perfect my skills, that’s a by-product, so to speak, but that I want and have to contribute actively and meaningfully to society.

BR-KLASSIK: But you obviously also dealt with mourning work with and through music. In the film you tell a very touching anecdote about how you are playing Mozart and suddenly a butterfly appears on the stage.

Anne-Sophie Mutter: Yes , our children were very small when their father [the lawyer Detlef Wunderlich; ADR] passed away. Arabella was three and Richard was just celebrating his first birthday. And then, of course, at some point I had to explain to my children why dad was no longer there. And I did that using a butterfly. Through the transformation of the caterpillar freeing itself from the tired, ailing body so its soul can levitate.

And then after the funeral I went on tour with Lambert Orkis, and we also had a Mozart sonata with us, namely the only one in minor, KV 304, which Wolfgang had written in Paris after the death of his mother and which of course had to be canceled because of the biographical background was already a difficult walk for us anyway. And just on one of the evenings, we were in Berlin in the Philharmonie, we come on stage after the break and right where I’m standing there’s a beautiful peacock. It was really hard for Lambert and I to start the concert…

You can hear the full interview here.


  • Gustavo says:

    Love those Yoda ear rings.

    May the flow be with us!

  • Jim says:

    There was a butterfly on the stage in Berlin, not a peacock.