Thomas Hampson Returns to Heidelberg Lied Academy April 2 – 7

Hot on the heels of acclaimed performances as Iago in the Metropolitan Opera’s Otello, Thomas Hampson heads to Germany for a week-long immersion in the art and of song.  From April 2 through 7, Hampson will be in residence at the Heidelberg Lied Academy, which debuted in March 2011 and is part of the Heidelberger Frühling Music Festival. The Academy brings together young professionals for an intensive period working with a community of expert recitalists on all aspects of song interpretation.  There are workshops, lectures and other activities, all drawing upon Heidelberg’s historic location as the embodiment of German Romanticism.  Hampson, who is artistic director of the Academy, will lead master classes and symposiums.

Hampson discusses the festival in the commentary that follows:

The model, idealistically speaking, is Tanglewood – the kind of American festival campus atmosphere with educational events and performances.  It’s an oasis of a two week seminar for young singers who need to regroup and gather together everything they need to get at the heart of what songs are all about.  Why are they written?  Why are songs cultural identifiers, regardless of the culture or epoch they come from?  This informing process enlivens the technical process.  I do the bulk of the teaching, but Thomas Quasthoff is splitting the duties with me this year.  Lieder professor, and one of my long-time collaborators, pianist Wolfram Rieger, will be teaching during the second week of the Academy as well.  We also have a series of lectures by some of the most important German literature experts who as well know about music history.  My friend Jens Malte Fischer, well known in America for his Mahler biography, heads the lectures series, which we work on together.  It’s all very exciting stuff – and lots of fun. This is a passion of mine and it is very important to me.