Visit Talking Classical Podcast to listen to the interview.
In this episode, we’ll be “zooming in” with Thomas Hampson, one of the finest baritones of our time.
We talked about a variety of topics including the impact of Zoom and other digital platforms on the classical music industry in these current times. Thomas is a real advocate of digital technology within his many varied projects from live-streaming masterclasses around the world to the Hampsong Foundation, an online treasure trove focused on the art of song.
With his wealth of knowledge and experience on song, Thomas is currently presenting a series with a unique classical music streaming platform IDAGIO. We briefly discussed some of the topics he’ll be exploring in this series over the next few weeks such as comparing classical song to pop songs, the relationship between music and poetry, and performance practice. Thomas also sheds new light on the construct of memorising songs in recital, that this shouldn’t be necessary in order to stay true to the composer and keep searching new ideas for the work.
Additionally, we discussed issues of and performers’ reception to music criticism. Thomas also shared some wonderful insights into his long and illustrious career, working with some of the greatest musicians of our time, from Nikolaus Harnoncourt to Daniel Barenboim to Leonard Bernstein.
Many thanks to Jenna at Lenny’s Studio for helping to organise this interview over the last few months, and Thomas for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to talk to me!
Interview recorded 14th April 2020; published 19th April 2020.
Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, has received international honors and awards for his captivating artistry and cultural leadership. Lauded as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame,” Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time. With an operatic repertoire of over 80 roles sung in all the major theaters of the world, his discography comprises more than 170 albums, which include multiple nominations and winners of the Grammy Award, Edison Award, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s first-ever Artist-in-Residence, and was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he has served as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America.
Thomas Hampson returns to the stage this month, with a concert at the Stiftskirche Millstatt, and two performances at the Salzkammergut Classic Festival. Beginning on August 2 in Millstatt, Hampson will perform lieder by Gustav Mahler and Johannes Brahms with pianist Christian Koch, and the Carinthia Chor Millstatt will sing Carinthian songs under the direction of Bernhard Zlanabitnig.
For the first time ever, audiences around the world will have a special opportunity to watch the Canadian Opera Company’s 2018 world premiere production of Hadrian, in full, online. On Monday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m. ET, in partnership with Montréal Pride Festival, the COC is hosting a free, one-night-only digital stream of the modern grand opera. The Hadrian Watch Party helps kick off one week of virtual Pride events and will feature a live Q&A session with both the composer and celebrated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor, a giant in Canadian theatre.
The Gewandhausorchester will stream the best recordings from the 2018 and 2019 concerts of Leipzig’s largest classical event, the “Klassik airleben” on Saturday, June 27, at 20:00 via www.klassik-airleben.de. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the famous open-air concert at the picturesque Rosental was canceled this year.
On Friday, May 1, starting at 21:00 CET, the Teatro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino will stream an at-home concert featuring some of the world’s greatest opera stars. Live from their living rooms, the performance will feature Thomas Hampson, Cecilia Bartoli, Vittorio Grigolo, Mikhail Petrenko, Diana Damrau, Ludovic Tézier, Francesco Meli, Lisette Oropesa, Luca Salsi, Krassimira Stoyanova, Michele Pertusi, Eva Mei, Leo Nucci, Sonya Yoncheva, Fabio Sartori, and Saioa Hernández, among others who have yet to be announced.
The New York Philharmonic announced their new digital festival, Mahler’s New York, a two-week celebration of the composer/conductor who spent time in New York as the Philharmonic’s tenth Music Director (1909-11), running from April 16-30, 2020, at nyphil.org/mahlerny. During this period of global isolation and crisis, the NY Phil hopes all listeners will take comfort and inspiration in Mahler’s music and musings.
In this Beethoven-year, Thomas Hampson joins the Amsterdam Sinfonietta on tour to Moscow, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Together they bring a loving musical program, featuring Beethoven’s pining song cycle An die ferne Geliebte, and new arrangements of songs by Richard Strauss. In the past, Mr. Hampson has joined Amsterdam Sinfonietta on tour in Europe, including appearances in the major concert halls of Dublin, Madrid, Vienna, and Lisbon. He also recently teamed up with the ensemble to create the acclaimed ‘Tides of Life’ CD, released by Channel Classics in 2017.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.