Jun 13, 2020
The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance and Grammy Award-winning baritone Thomas Hampson’s Hampsong Foundation have formed a new partnership to strengthen the work of both organizations in song research, vocal performance, and education at all levels.
The collaboration, called the Classic Song Research Initiative, was made possible through funding from an anonymous donor and the SMTD.
“The School of Music, Theatre & Dance is thrilled to partner with Thomas Hampson and the Hampsong Foundation,” said Dean David Gier. “Thomas has come to campus several times and these interactions have been enriching for our voice students, and several of our faculty members have conducted research with the Hampsong Foundation.
“This new collaboration will strengthen previous work, allowing both organizations to amplify the preservation, study and practice of song more broadly and in new contexts.”
The Classic Song Research Initiative is the formalization and expansion of many collaborations between Hampson and U-M. Since 2014, Hampson and faculty members have collaborated on performances, such as the “Poets and Patriotism” concert at the Library of Congress, and research for the Hampsong Foundation’s Song of America project.
In February, Hampson also visited the school to teach a master class to voice students, as well as a session for K-12 students at the School at Marygrove, the U-M School of Education’s “cradle to career” program with the Detroit Public School System.
“My collaborations with U-M since 2014, both personally and through the Hampsong Foundation, have been incredibly rewarding experiences and have created a strong foundation for this partnership,” Hampson said.
“U-M is the perfect environment to develop the existing multifaceted projects of the Hampsong Foundation with the strength of the university as a research institution and music school, and allow the three prongs of this partnership-performance, research and education-to flourish and provide invaluable experiential learning opportunities to all involved.”
The partnership will expand existing projects between the two organizations and pave the way for new ones. As part of the agreement, Hampson will continue to lead master classes and other training for voice students.
Research initiatives will also be explored and developed between U-M faculty and the Hampsong Foundation such as projects from SMTD professor Louise Toppin’s class “African American Art Song,” a course that has already contributed scholarly work to the Song of America project. Faculty members and the foundation are also working on a research project through U-M’s Humanities Collaboratory.
“The Department of Voice is very excited about the partnership with Thomas Hampson and the Hampsong Foundation,” said Scott Piper, associate professor of music and chair of the Department of Voice. “Thomas’ stellar career, with multifaceted success in performance, scholarship and advocacy for the vocal arts naturally converges with the professional and academic achievements of our faculty.
“Likewise, the Hampsong Foundation’s impressive collection of projects, resources, and archived events promises to further fuel the creativity, artistry and imagination of our voice students.”
The Classic Song Research Initiative’s first formal collaboration is a series of weekly Facebook Live conversations called The Art of Democracy, hosted by Hampson and Mark Clague, associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs and associate professor of musicology at SMTD.
“The Art of Democracy will incorporate a range of research and performance projects exploring the role of song and all the arts in American political life,” Clague said. “For example, we will interrogate the role of the arts as part of the problem, and as part of the solution, to the pestilence of inequality.”
“The project’s fundamental argument is that art is a vital tool in the dialogue of ideals-for sharing, understanding, debating, negotiating and changing one’s mind-that is at the core of any society striving to form a more perfect union.”
The Art of Democracy takes place throughout the month of June and culminates with an online concert July 4.
Thomas Hampson makes his Global Concert Hall debut next month, performing with the Orchester Wiener Akademie under the baton of its founder and musical director Martin Haselböck. The concert, filmed at the Brucknerhouse Linz in August 2020, will be streamed on IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall on Thursday, October 15, beginning at 8 pm Berlin / 2 pm New York. The concert will be available to stream through October 22.
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 song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.