Thomas Hampson, baritone
A Short Biography
America's leading baritone, Thomas Hampson has been recognized for his versatility and breadth of achievement in opera, song, recording, research, and pedagogy. The singer, who hails from Spokane, Washington, studied with Sr. Marietta Coyle, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Martial Singher, and Horst Günther, enjoys an international career that has taken him to all the world's most prestigious stages and concert halls and has made him one of today's most respected, innovative and sought after soloists.
Making his operatic debut in Düsseldorf in 1981 and then moving on to Zurich, Hampson figured prominently in the Harnoncourt/Jean-Pierre Ponnelle Mozart cycle, performing the title roles in Don Giovanni and the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Marquis of Posa in the original French version of Verdi's Don Carlos in a Luc Bondy production for the Paris Châtelet and London's Covent Garden, and the Vicomte de Valmont, a characterization he created for the 1994 San Francisco world premiere of Conrad Susa/Phillip Littell's The Dangerous Liaisons. In addition to such signature parts, which Mr. Hampson has sung in places such as Salzburg, Vienna, Munich, Florence, and New York, the baritone's opera repertory on stage and on disc includes Guglielmo and Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Marcello in La Bohème, Posa in Verdi's Don Carlo, (Valentin in Faust, Roland in Schubert's Fierrabras, the Dark Fiddler in Dellus' A Village Romeo and Juliet) and the title roles in Monteverdi's Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria, (Hans Werner Henze's Der Prinz von Homburg), Ambrose Thomas' Hamlet, and Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd. The 1996-1997 season will see him undertake his first Riccardo in Bellini's I Puritani at the Metropolitan Opera and his first Eugene Onegin at the Wiener Staatsoper.
Mr. Hampson has appeared in concert as solist under the baton of conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Seiji Ozawa, Klaus Tennstedt, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Daniel Barenboim in a wide range of repertory. A committed song recitalist, the baritone has devoted special attention to the works of Mahler and Schumann, as well as to American composers such as Copland, Griffes, Ives, MacDowell, and Bernstein. Partnered by Geoffrey Parsons, his 1989 recital debut recording for Teldec, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, received four major international awards, and subsequent song recordings have focussed on Schumann's Kerner and Andersen Lieder, Mahler's Rückert Lieder, and Kindertotenlieder, as well as Cole Porter and Stephen Foster melodies. Mr. Hampson is also featured in a series of important revival recordings of musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, and On the Town.
In addition to giving master classes in Great Britain and throughout the United States and pursuing research projects, the baritone rang in 1994 at the Metropolitan Opera in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Les Troyens, and made a January debut at the Houston Symphony in a Mahler-Copland program. He then turned his attention to an extensive series of recitals and concerts which took him to thirty European and American cities in nine different programs.
Ever active before the microphones, Mr. Hampson's recent recording projects have included a recital of Berlioz, Liszt, and Wagner songs, as well as the complete Mahler piano Lieder from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (both with Geoffrey Parsons) and numerous other projects. In continuing recording excellence, he has designed multi-media projects such as Voices from the Heart, a performance documentary on the music of Stephen Foster for the Hessischer Rundfunk/Arte network and I Hear America Singing, a program about the cultural contexts of American song which airs in January 1997 on WNET's Great Performances.
Among his most recent honors, Mr. Hampson has been accorded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Whitworth College, honorary membership in London's Royal Academy of Music, the Music Academy of the West's first Distinguished Alumni Award, and the distinction of performation at the White House. His distinctive recordings have earned him an array of prizes including six Grammy nominations, two Edison Prizes, three 1994 Gramophone Awards, the 1992 Grand Prix de Nouvelle Académie du Disque Lyrique, as well as the esteemed Toblacher Prize for recent Mahler recordings. To these recording honors are added the 1997 Citation of Merit for Lifetime Contribution to Music and Education from the National Arts Club of America, the 1994 German critics' Echo Preis for Best Male Singer, 1993 Classical Singer of the Year, Musical America's 1991 Vocalist of the Year, Munchener Abendzeitung's 1992 Stern des Jahres, and recognition as 1994 Male Singer of the Year at the Cannes Classical Awards.
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