Following three performances of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with the New York Philharmonic and its music director, Alan Gilbert (Jan 6-8), Thomas Hampson will perform and discuss songs by Mahler – as well as music by Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, and American composers – in a front of a live studio audience at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR on Monday, January 10.  This will be broadcast live at 7pm on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR and www.wqxr.org, and will be available as a live video webcast at www.thegreenespace.org.  The music of Gustav Mahler, who was born 150 years ago and died a century ago next May, is the centerpiece of Hampson’s 2010-11 season, when the baritone will perform Mahler’s music in 50 recital and concert programs with the world’s greatest orchestras and leading conductors.  His new recording of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Wiener Virtuosen – described by the Wall Street Journal as “superb” – was released last month on Deutsche Grammophon, and a film crew has been following Hampson throughout his Mahler odyssey for a documentary about the composer’s life and music that will be broadcast this spring in Europe.

A reviewer for BBC Music magazine called Hampson’s new Wunderhorn recording, “a wonderfully fresh imaginative take on the songs and “a constantly absorbing recital” that benefited from Hampson’s “pungent characterizations.”  A review at the website Classical Review noted, “Magnificently supported by the Wiener Virtuosen – a conductor-less ensemble comprised of members of the Vienna Philharmonic – Hampson embarks on an intimate journey during which he imbues the familiar Mahlerian landscapes with innovative hues and tones… . This one-of-a-kind Des Knaben Wunderhorn embodies the soul of the Mahlerian Lied… . A firm contender for my Record of the Year list, 2010.  Or 2011? 
 Why not both!”

Hampson began the worldwide celebrations of Mahler’s life and music on July 7, 2010 – the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth – in Kaliste, Czech Republic, with a recital from the composer’s birth house, streamed live on medici.tv, as well as an internationally televised orchestral concert, available on DVD.  Later in the summer he performed Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the NDR Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg and Alan Gilbert on a four-city tour that included the final concert of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.  Hampson’s current performances with the New York Philharmonic are his first with the orchestra since his term last year as its first Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence.  This spring, the baritone joins Gilbert and the orchestra on tour in Europe for the second consecutive season, performing Mahler songs in several cities (May 12-23, venues tba).

Hampson’s other Mahler performances this season include concerts with such orchestras as the Vienna Philharmonic, Hamburg’s NDR Sinfonieorchester, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, and Czech Philharmonic, with conductors including Mariss Jansons, Philippe Jordan, and Antonio Pappano.  Hampson also features the composer’s songs in a series of recitals in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Vienna, Zurich, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Madrid, and Oslo, and – as “Mahler Artist-in-Residence” – presents the complete songs at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.  A detailed list of his upcoming performances follows below.

Thomas Hampson discusses Mahler’s songs in a “Cultural Conversation” published in the Wall Street Journal on January 6 and available here: tinyurl.com/25tmeh6.

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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