The Academy, to take place annually as part of the Heidelberger Frühling in Germany, will allow the next generation of singers and collaborative pianists to study classic song with the world’s most renowned song specialists as well as leading artists from other fields.

During a press conference on June 21 2010, Artistic Director Thomas Hampson and Executive Director Thorsten Schmidt presented the first Academy season, scheduled from March 16 through March 27 2011. The teachers, besides Mr. Hampson, will include soprano and Professor of Voice at the Mozartteum, Barbara Bonney, musicologist and Professor in Theater at the University of Munich, Dr. Jens Malte Fischer, and Mr. Hampson’s piano partner and Professor of Lied at Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”, Wolfram Rieger. The literary focus for 2010 will be the poetry of Henrich Heine.

Thorsten Schmidt & Thomas Hampson. Photo: PeterDorn

A central element of the Lied Academy is the understanding of poetry as a prism of its contemporary cultural and historic contexts and symbols. The goal is to teach young artists to make the associations in the Lied tradition understandable to a wider audience. The Academy also aims to experiment with new concert formats for the Lied incorporating other art forms and visual elements, and will feature a collaboration with John Neumeyer and the Hamburger Ballettschule in its inaugural season.

The Heidelberger Lied Academy establishes the Heidelberger Frühling as an international center for classic song. It welcomes applications from the most advanced singers and collaborative pianists under the age of 32 to fill a total of 12 spots (8 singers and 4 pianists), all funded by full scholarships to cover tuition, lodging and travel. Participants will be chosen by audition in Zürich in December 2010 and New York in January 2011.

“The level of the participants shall allow a concentrated, thorough examination of the song repertoire and its technical demands” says Thomas Hampson. “The goal is to prepare students to perform at the highest international level.”

“Classic song is increasingly rare in concert programs, especially if it is not performed by major stars,” says Thorsten Schmidt. “We want to reverse this trend. What place is better suited for that than Heidelberg, the cradle of the German Romantic movement?”

The Academy is made possible by local sponsors and the new Heidelberger Frühling Foundation. A collaboration with the local Ruprecht-Karls University enables the festival to present a Festival Campus in the middle of Heidelberg’s historic downtown.

For more information, please contact the Heidelberger Frühling.

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In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.

Thomas Hampson