Anne-Sophie Mutter accepted her first honorary doctorate on Sunday night, conferred by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Mutter’s links with the town’s chamber orchestra, the Trondheim Soloists, had prompted the awarding of the degree in 2010, but the violinist hadn’t been able to accept the accolade in person until now.
Mutter rounded-off the Trondheim Chamber Music Festival on Sunday night with the first performance of her former husband André Previn’s second Violin Concerto, a piece written for her, the Trondheim Soloists, and its director Øyvind Gimse. The same forces will tour Previn’s witty, lithe and tightly formed neo-classical concerto to 10 towns in Scandinavia and Germany from October 13 to 27.
On stage at the Olavshallen in Trondheim, the NTNU’s director Torbjørn Digernes praised Mutter’s inspiring abilities, her admiration for the town and her commitment to young musicians. She countered with a plea that arts institutions not forget young artists whose journey to fulfilment is increasingly difficult. Mutter recalled her own good fortune to encounter Herbert von Karajan and singled-out the Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang – whom she has mentored – as an example of how superlative talent must be recognised and assisted.
Mutter recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with The Trondheim Soloists for DG in 2003 and has worked and recorded with the ensemble a number of times since. The orchestra’s unique constitution dictates that a proportion of its members must always be students in the NTNU’s music department. ‘I cannot picture better players for the world premiere of André Previn’s Violin Concerto and the tour throughout Europe,' said a visibly moved Mutter as she thanked the city and the university for the presentation.