American baritone Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as a recitalist, opera singer, and recording artist, and maintains an active interest in teaching, research, and technology. He has performed in all of the world’s most important concert halls and opera houses with many of today’s most renowned singers, pianists, conductors, and orchestras. He is one of the most respected, innovative, and sought-after soloists performing today.
Hampson has won worldwide recognition for his thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods. He is one of the most important interpreters of German romantic song, and with his celebrated “Song of America” project, has become the “ambassador” of American song. Through the Hampsong Foundation, founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.
A significant part of Hampson’s 2010-2011 season is dedicated to performances celebrating the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth and the 100th anniversary of his death. Recognized as today’s leading interpreter of the Austrian composer’s songs, he began the worldwide celebrations on July 7, 2010 – Mahler’s 150th birthday – in Kaliste, Czech Republic, with a recital from the composer’s birth house, streamed live on medici.tv, as well as an internationally televised orchestral concert, available on DVD. Throughout the season he performs Mahler in many of the world’s musical capitals with orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the NDR Sinfonieorchester, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, and the Czech Philharmonic with conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Manfred Honeck, Mariss Jansons, Philippe Jordan and Antonio Pappano. He also features the composer’s songs in a series of recitals in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Vienna, Zurich, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Madrid, and Oslo, and presents the complete songs as “Mahler Artist-in-Residence” at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. His new recording of Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Wiener Virtuosen – a conductor-less ensemble comprised of the principal players of the Vienna Philharmonic – will appear on Deutsche Grammophon in January 2011.
Additional highlights of Hampson’s 2010-2011 season include season-opening performances in the title role in a new production of Verdi’s Macbeth at Lyric Opera of Chicago; three all-Strauss concerts with Renee Fleming and the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Christian Thielemann; selections from George Crumb’s American Songbooks performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; “Song of America” recitals at Duke University and Minnesota Beethoven Festival; performances and a world-premiere recording of Richard Danielpour’s Songs of Solitude, originally commissioned for Hampson and the Philadelphia Orchestra; and the world-premiere of William Bolcom’s Laura Sonnets, also written especially for him. In Switzerland, he performs at the Zurich Opera in new productions of Verdi’s I Masnadieri and Wagner’s Parsifal under Adam Fischer and Daniele Gatti, and appears in a series of opera galas.
Much of Hampson’s 2009-2010 season was devoted to the “Song of America” project, commemorating the 250th anniversary of what is recognized as the first song written by an American. In collaboration with the Library of Congress, Hampson performed recitals and presented master classes, exhibits, and broadcasts across the United States and through a new interactive online resource, www.songofamerica.net. He also released a new album, Wondrous Free – Song of America II, on his own imprint, Thomas Hampson Media. Also last season, Hampson became the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist in Residence, an association that featured him in three programs with the orchestra; a tour in Europe under the Philharmonic’s new music director, Alan Gilbert; a recital; and a lecture series. Some of these performances, including a New Year’s Eve concert broadcast nationally on Live from Lincoln Center, are available for download on iTunes. Other key engagements included Verdi’s Ernani and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Zurich Opera, La traviata at the Metropolitan Opera, and numerous recitals and concerts across Europe.
Raised in Spokane, Washington, Hampson has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. His discography of more than 150 albums includes winners of a Grammy Award, two Edison Prizes and the Grand Prix du Disque. He holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, Whitworth College, WA, and the San Francisco Conservatory, and is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences in 2004. He is the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award recipient from the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, and in 2008 was named Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America by Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. In 2010, Hampson was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.