Talking Classical Podcast

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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.