For Lenny: Episode 9 (Thomas Hampson)

“This track, this simple song, represents everything I am hoping to express about Leonard Bernstein and about American music  – about inspiration and collaboration, tradition and innovation.

Thomas Hampson began his career under Bernstein’s guidance, learned and performed Bernstein’s music under the Maestro’s baton, knew LB as a mentor and a friend, and took from him inspiration for his own life in music.

I first saw Tom perform when I was a student in Vienna, and I recognized him immediately for what he is: an American original. Like Leonard Bernstein.

American music brought us together. Way back when I was putting together my album American Ballads, I happened upon Tom’s Song of America project, and I fell in love with a new world of music. American songs, the American vernacular, our history, our story, told in music… And a light went on for me. You could be an  artist, a great performer, a scholar, a teacher, an explorer… Like Thomas Hampson. Like Leonard Bernstein.

And all these years later, Tom and I are making music together, and it’s magic. What he does with A Simple Songbegan back in the day with LB. I feel so lucky, so blessed, to be here today with Tom.

And this is our journey – American music, American musicians – passing a torch, sharing a story, walking down this long road of history, singing a simple song.”

– Lara

See more & download the track and album at