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A German violinist with a warm, passionate, but precise tone.

Born on 29 June 1963 in Rheinfelden, she took up learning the violin at the age of five, and at the age of six won first prize in the Jugend Musiziert (Young Musician) competition, the youngest ever winner. She also won a prize as a pianist; then she won the same prizes in 1974, and was asked if she'd mind awfully not entering again. Her tutors included Henryk Szeryng.

She was taken up as a protégée (and of course prodigy) by Karajan in 1976. She made her Salzburg and London débuts the following year.

In new music, she is especially associated with the composer Witold Lutoslawski. Recently she has regularly paired with the pianist Lambert Orkis for many recitals and recordings of modern music, in a project called "Back to the Future".

She is quite a gift to a record producer, being stunningly beautiful, but unlike some whose name mae not be mentioned, she is one of the most solidly talented of all violinists around, and the business with the dark flowing dresses and bare arms is just a bonus for the viewers. From watching her perform, I would say she gets quite as excited by the music as we her audience do.

Mutter is reticent about her private life; I believe her husband Dr Detlef Wunderlich died in a car crash, leaving her with a young child. (News! On or about 1 August 2002 she married the ageing conductor André Previn in a secret ceremony in Germany; his fifth marriage, the lucky swine.) She is a guest teacher at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

"Ten years from now, thirty years from now, I want more or less to be doing the same thing. Just better."

Updated 18 August 2001 to the spiky strains of the Prokofiev sonata in D major

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