Thomas Quasthoff (born 9 November 1959) is a German bass-baritone. Quasthoff has a range of musical interest from Bach cantatas, to lieder, and solo jazz improvisations. Born with severe birth defects caused by thalidomide, Quasthoff is 1.34 m (4 ft 4 3⁄4 in), and has phocomelia.
A bass-baritone is a high-lying bass or low-lying "classical" baritone voice type which shares certain qualities with the true baritone voice. The term arose in the late 19th century to describe the particular type of voice required to sing three Wagnerian roles: the Dutchman in Der fliegende Holländer, Wotan/Der Wanderer in the Ring Cycle and Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Wagner labelled these roles as Hoher Bass —see fach for more details.
The cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach consist of at least 209 surviving works.
The lied is a term in the German vernacular to describe setting poetry to classical music to create a piece of polyphonic music. The term is used for songs from the late fourteenth or early fifteenth centuries or even to refer to Minnesang from as early as the 12th and 13th centuries. It later came especially to refer to settings of Romantic poetry during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and into the early twentieth century. Examples include settings by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Hugo Wolf or Richard Strauss. Among English speakers, however, "lied" is often used interchangeably with "art song" to encompass works that the tradition has inspired in other languages. The poems that have been made into lieder often center on pastoral themes or themes of romantic love.
Quasthoff was born in Hildesheim with serious birth defects caused by his mother's exposure during pregnancy to the drug thalidomide, which was prescribed as an antiemetic to combat her morning sickness.
A birth defect, also known as a congenital disorder, is a condition present at birth regardless of its cause. Birth defects may result in disabilities that may be physical, intellectual, or developmental. The disabilities can range from mild to severe. Birth defects are divided into two main types: structural disorders in which there are problems with the shape of a body part and functional disorders in which there are problems with how a body part works. Functional disorders include metabolic and degenerative disorders. Some birth defects include both structural and functional disorders.
An antiemetic is a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea. Antiemetics are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of opioid analgesics, general anaesthetics, and chemotherapy directed against cancer. They may be used for severe cases of gastroenteritis, especially if the patient is dehydrated.
Quasthoff was denied admission to the music conservatory in Hanover, owing to his physical inability to play the piano, rather than a lack of skill required for entry to the conservatory. In the early stages of his education as a singer, Quasthoff was promoted by Sebastian Peschko.Thus, he chose to study voice privately. He also studied law for three years. Prior to his music career, he worked six years as a radio announcer for NDR. He also did voice-over work for television.
A music school is an educational institution specialized in the study, training, and research of music. Such an institution can also be known as a school of music, music academy, music faculty, college of music, music department, conservatory or conservatoire. Instruction consists of training in the performance of musical instruments, singing, musical composition, conducting, musicianship, as well as academic and research fields such as musicology, music history and music theory.
Hanover or Hannover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city of Germany, as well as the third-largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, and Bremen.
Sebastian Peschko was a German classical pianist specialised in the art form of lieder and as such was accompanist to some of the foremost lyrical singers of the 20th century.
Quasthoff's music career was launched in 1988 when he won the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, earning praise from the baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.[ citation needed ] In 1995, he made his American debut at the Oregon Bach Festival at the invitation of artistic director Helmuth Rilling; in 1998, he was one of the soloists for the Bach Festival's world premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's Credo, the recording of which won a Grammy Award for best choral recording. In 2003, he made his staged operatic debut as Don Fernando in Beethoven's Fidelio at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Simon Rattle.
The ARD International Music Competition is the largest international classical music competition in Germany. It is held once a year in Munich.
A baritone is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice types. Originally from the Greek βαρύτονος (barýtonos), meaning heavy sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C (i.e. F2–F4) in choral music, and from the second G below middle C to the G above middle C (G2 to G4) in operatic music, but can be extended at either end. The baritone voice type is generally divided into the baryton-Martin baritone (light baritone), lyric baritone, Kavalierbariton, Verdi baritone, dramatic baritone, baryton-noble baritone, and the bass-baritone.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was a German lyric baritone and conductor of classical music, one of the most famous Lieder performers of the post-war period, best known as a singer of Franz Schubert's Lieder, particularly "Winterreise" of which his recordings with accompanist Gerald Moore and Jörg Demus are still critically acclaimed half a century after their release.
Quasthoff recorded for Deutsche Grammophon (DG). In addition to recordings of classical repertoire,he released his first jazz album for DG, The Jazz Album: Watch What Happens , with Till Brönner, Alan Broadbent, Peter Erskine, Dieter Ilg, and Chuck Loeb.
Deutsche Grammophon (DGG) is a German classical music record label that was the precursor of the corporation PolyGram. Headquartered in Berlin Friedrichshain, it is now part of Universal Music Group (UMG) since its merger with the UMG family of labels in 1999. It is the oldest surviving established record company.
The Jazz Album: Watch What Happens is a 2006 studio album by the German baritone Thomas Quasthoff. The album was arranged by Alan Broadbent, Steve Gray, and Nan Schwartz.
Till Brönner is a jazz musician, trumpeter, singer, composer, producer and photographer.
For the 2006/2007 concert season, Quasthoff was one of Carnegie Hall's "Perspectives" artists.However, illness forced him to cancel his first two appearances in that capacity.
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east side of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.
As artist-in-residence at the Barbican Hall,London, Quasthoff invited some of his favourite fellow artists in a series under the title Die Stimme (The Voice, also the name of his autobiography) which marked his 50th birthday. Quasthoff was a guest of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in February 2009.
In January 2012, Quasthoff announced his retirement from public performance. He cited various reasons such as illness, the strains of touring, and the death of his brother Michael from lung cancer.
Quasthoff is also a voice professor. He previously taught at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold, Germany. He is currently a professor at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin. He has continued to appear in concert, notably as the speaker in Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder .
Quasthoff won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance in 2000, for his recording with Anne Sofie von Otter of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn , along with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Claudio Abbado. He won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for the second time in 2004. It was for Schubert: Lieder with Orchestra which Quasthoff performed with von Otter and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe conducted by Abbado. Quasthoff won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for the third time in 2006 with Rainer Kussmaul, the Berlin Baroque Soloists and the RIAS Chamber Choir in their recording of J. S. Bach: Cantatas .
Quasthoff's recordings of the songs of Brahms, Liszt and Schubert accompanied by pianist Justus Zeyenwere nominated for the Grammy in 2000 and 2001.
In 2008, he was a soloist on the Grammy-winning recording of Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem (Simon Rattle, conductor; Simon Halsey, chorus master) on EMI Classics.
In 2005, Quasthoff received Germany's Great Cross of Merit. In 2009, he was awarded the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize. That same year he was awarded the Gold Medal for outstanding musicianship by the Royal Philharmonic Society.
In 2006, Quasthoff married Claudia Stelzig, a German TV journalist.
In a 2003 interview, Quasthoff revealed that he is an active political thinker, is a socialist, and was opposed to the Iraq War. He also expressed regret that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict could not be resolved via compromise.
The Berlin Philharmonic is a German orchestra based in Berlin. It is traditionally ranked in the top handful of orchestras in the world, distinguished amongst peers for its virtuosity and compelling sound. The orchestra’s history has always been tied to its chief conductors, many of whom have been authoritative and controversial characters, such as Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan.
Carlos Kleiber was a German-born Austrian conductor who is widely regarded as being among the greatest conductors of all time.
The Emerson String Quartet, also known as the Emerson Quartet, is a professional string ensemble – in residence at the Stony Brook University. During the 1980s the musical ensemble was in residence at The Hartt School located in West Hartford, Connecticut. Choosing American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson as namesake, the quartet formed at the Juilliard School as a student ensemble. They turned professional in 1976, with both of their violinists having studied under the tutelage of the renowned Oscar Shumsky, alternating as first and second violinists. When it was formed, the Emerson Quartet was one of the first with the two violinists alternating chairs.
Maurizio Pollini is an Italian pianist. He is especially noted for his performances of Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Schoenberg, Webern and for championing modern composers such as Pierre Boulez, Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Giacomo Manzoni, Salvatore Sciarrino, George Benjamin, Roberto Carnevale, Gianluca Cascioli and Bruno Maderna. Important modern works have been composed for Pollini, notably Nono's ..... sofferte onde serene ..., Manzoni's Masse: omaggio a Edgard Varèse and Sciarrino's Fifth Sonata. Pollini has conducted both opera and orchestral music, sometimes leading the orchestra from the keyboard in concertos.
The Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo has been awarded since 1959. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award over this time:
The Gramophone Classical Music Awards, launched in 1977, are one of the most significant honours bestowed on recordings in the classical record industry. They are often viewed as equivalent to or surpassing the American Grammy award, and referred to as the Oscars for classical music. They are widely regarded as the most influential and prestigious classical music awards in the world.
Jessye Mae Norman is an American opera singer and recitalist. A dramatic soprano, Norman is associated in particular with the Wagnerian repertoire, and with the roles of Sieglinde, Ariadne, Alceste, and Leonore. Norman has been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and is a Spingarn Medalist. Apart from receiving several honorary doctorates and other awards, she has also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts, and is a member of the British Royal Academy of Music.
Anne Sofie von Otter is a Swedish mezzo-soprano. Her repertoire encompasses lieder, operas, oratorios and also rock and pop songs.
Peter Schreier is a German tenor and conductor.
Thomas Bernard (Ben) Heppner, CC is a Canadian tenor and broadcaster, now retired from singing, who specialized in opera and other classical works for voice.
Ian Charles Bostridge CBE is an English tenor, well known for his performances as an opera and lieder singer.
Albrecht Mayer is a German classical oboist. The principal oboist of the Berlin Philharmonic, he is internationally known as a soloist and chamber musician, who made several recordings.
Elisabeth Batiashvili, professionally known as Lisa Batiashvili, is a prominent Georgian violinist active across Europe and the United States. A former New York Philharmonic artist-in-residence, she is acclaimed for her "natural elegance, silky sound and the meticulous grace of her articulation." Batiashvili makes frequent appearances at high-profile international events; she was the violin soloist at the 2018 Nobel Prize concert.
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE), established in 1981, is administratively based in London. The orchestra comprises about 60 members coming from across Europe. The players pursue parallel careers as international soloists, members of eminent chamber groups, and as tutors and professors of music. The orchestra receives substantial support from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Underwood Trust; they have no single home resident hall and no appointed resident conductor. The orchestra is a registered charity under English law.
"Prometheus" is an intensely dramatic art song composed by Franz Schubert in October 1819 to a poem of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Mahan Esfahani is an Iranian-American harpsichordist.
Daniel Behle is a German classical composer and operatic tenor. He has performed at international opera houses and festivals, and has recorded both operas and Lieder recitals.
Paul Schweinester is an Austrian operatic tenor.