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Thomas Hampson’s 2010-11 season

The music of Gustav Mahler – who was born 150 years ago and died a century ago – will be the centerpiece of a far-ranging new season for Thomas Hampson.  Long a touchstone for the baritone’s life and career, Mahler’s music will appear on more than 50 of Hampson’s recital and concert programs throughout the season, as well as on his new recording of Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Wiener Virtuosen – a conductor-less ensemble comprised of principal players of the Vienna Philharmonic – available in January 2011.  Hampson performs Mahler in many of the world’s musical capitals with orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, NDR Sinfonieorchester, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, and Czech Philharmonic with conductors like Alan Gilbert, 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, as “Mahler Artist-in-Residence”, presents the complete songs at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

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 Renée Fleming and the Berliner Philharmonic 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, newly commissioned for Hampson and the Philadelphia Orchestra; and the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Laura Sonnets, also written especially for the baritone.  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.

Asked to describe his feelings about performing such a wide variety of music with so many greatly admired colleagues, Hampson commented:

“It’s more than thrilling.  This is really the kind of season that I love, full of so many different activities: performances in Europe and America, opera, lieder, concerts, new works, more of the ‘Song of America’ project.  I get tremendous energy from it and it gives me a sense of overwhelming artistic joy.  It’s also a wonderfully lucky reality of fate that at the height of my career I land in the anniversary of one of the composers I admire most, Gustav Mahler. This has given me the opportunity to make a recording I’ve always wanted to make, work with some remarkable conductors and orchestras in their home cities and on tour, and do various academic and journalistic activities on Mahler. It’s all thrilling and humbling at the same time.”

Hampson’s “thrilling and humbling” new season takes flight on October 1, when he gives the first of nine performances in the title role of Verdi’s Macbeth at Lyric Opera of Chicago (Oct 1-30).  Hampson has done three productions of the opera previously – in San Francisco, Zurich, and Covent Garden – but the Lyric Opera production by Barbara Gaines of Chicago Shakespeare Theater will be his first new production of the work in the past ten years.  Hampson looks forward to returning to a city and company of which he is enormously fond.  “I love Chicago.  It’s one of the most dynamic American cities and it has many fantastic cultural institutions including this amazing and wonderful opera house.”

Hampson discusses Verdi’s Macbeth at length in an illuminating two-part conversation with Mark Travis, of the “Backstage at Lyric” series of interviews and podcasts.  Click here to listen.


Hampson and Mahler

Long regarded as the premier interpreter of the songs of Gustav Mahler, Hampson began the worldwide celebrations of the composer’s life and music on July 7, 2010 – Mahler’s 150th birthday – in Kaliste, Czech Republic, with a recital from the composer’s birth house, streamed live on, as well as an internationally televised orchestral concert, available on DVD.  Recently, to great acclaim, he performed Das Lied von der Erde with the NDR Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg and Alan Gilbert on a four-city tour that included the final concert of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.  This month, the San Francisco Symphony issued a new recording on its own SFS Media label, featuring Mahler’s songs for soloists and orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.  On the album, Hampson sings Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and five songs from Des Knaben Wunderborn.  A preview in the Contra Costa Times predicted a Grammy nomination for the album, in large part due to “sublime contributions” from the singers.  The reviewer continued:

“Hampson, in particular, is a joy to listen to, his baritone flowing like liquid gold from the very first phrases of the four ‘Songs of the Wayfarer’ that open the CD.  His limber voice strides across an expansive register in leaps and bounds, his German diction so precise and spot-on that every syllable is its own distinct jewel.  The spare orchestral writing flutters and swirls around him, never overwhelming the voice and evoking atmosphere rather than plodding ‘accompaniment.’  I know of no other American baritone as adept at weaving nuance and pure emotion into such flawless musical execution.”

Hampson introduces listeners to his favorite Mahler songs in a special feature available at the NPR Music website:


Highlights of the previous season

Much of Hampson’s 2009-10 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,  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 saw him featured 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.

For regular news updates, a calendar of engagements, and a complete biography visit


Thomas Hampson: 2010-11 engagements
October 1
Chicago, IL
Verdi: Macbeth (title role)
Lyric Opera of Chicago
(Additional performances: Oct 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, & 30)
October 28
Washington, D.C.
Recital with Craig Rutenberg
Library of Congress
November 4-6
Nashville, TN
Danielpour: Songs of Solitude (world premiere recording)
Nashville Symphony / Giancarlo Guerrero
November 14
Hamburg, Germany
Mahler recital with Wolfram Rieger
December 5 – January 1
Zurich, Switzerland
Verdi: I masnadieri (new production)
December 7-28
Opera Galas
Geneva (Dec 7); Basel (Dec 10); Bern (Dec 14); Lucerne (Dec 17); Bern (Dec 21); Zurich (Dec 28)
Württembergische Philharmonie / Ola Rudner
January 10
Release of Deutsche Grammophon recording of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Wiener Virtuosen
January 6-8
New York, NY
Mahler concert (Kindertotenlieder)
New York Philharmonic / Alan Gilbert
January 14
Vienna, Austria
Mahler concert (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)
Vienna Philharmonic / Mariss Jansons
January 16
Paris, France
Mahler recital with Wolfram Rieger
January 18
Hamburg, Germany
Mahler concert (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)
Vienna Philharmonic / Mariss Jansons
January 20 & 21
Prague, Czech Republic
Mahler concert (Kindertotenlieder)
Czech Philharmonic / Eliahu Inbal
January 26
London, UK
Zemlinsky: Lyric Symphony
London Philharmonic / Vladimir Jurowski
January 29 – February 4
Mahler tour (Kindertotenlieder) with Czech Philharmonic / Eliahu Inbal
Paris (Jan 29); Luxembourg (Jan 31); Rotterdam (Feb 1); Athens (Feb 4)
February 15
Duke University, Durham, NC
“Song of America” recital
February 18
Athens, GA
Bolcom: Laura Sonnets (world premiere)
February 27
London, UK
Mahler concert (Das Lied von der Erde)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden / Antonio Pappano
March 1
Hamburg, Germany
Mahler recital with Wolfram Rieger
March 4 & 5
Mahler Festival concerts (early songs) with NDR Sinfonieorchester / Alan Gilbert
Hamburg (Mar 4); Bremen (Mar 5)
March 13
Oslo, Norway
Mahler & Song Of America recital with Craig Rutenberg
March 16-22
Heidelberg, Germany
Teaching Residency
Heidelberg Frühling Festival: Heidelberg Lied Academy
March 20
Heidelberg, Germany
Recital with Wolfram Rieger
Opening Concert, Heidelberg Lied Academy
March 23
Bayreuth, Germany
Mahler/Liszt recital with Wolfram Rieger
March 25
Munich, Germany
Mahler recital with Wolfram Rieger
March 28
Milan, Italy
Recital with Wolfram Rieger
April 2-20
Mahler tour with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester / Philippe Jordan
(Das Lied von der Erde and Des Knaben Wunderhorn)
Interlaken (Apr 2 & 3); Paris (Apr 5); Vienna (Apr 7, 8, & 9); Athens (Apr 11 & 12); Madrid (Apr 14); Lisbon (Apr 16 & 17); Turin (Apr 19 & 20)
April 28
Washington, DC
Crumb: American Songbooks
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
April 29
New York, NY
Crumb: American Songbooks
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
May 5-7
Berlin, Germany
All-Strauss program with Renée Fleming
Berlin Philharmonic / Christian Thielemann
May 12-25
Mahler tour of Europe with New York Philharmonic / Alan Gilbert (cities and repertoire TBA)
May 29
Zurich, Switzerland
Mahler recital with Wolfram Rieger
May 31 & June 1
Amsterdam, Holland
Recital and master class with Wolfram Rieger
June 2
Saarbruecken, Germany
Recital with Wolfram Rieger
June 4
Brussels, Belgium
Mahler Recital with Wolfram Rieger
June 6
Vienna, Austria
Mahler recital with Wolfram Rieger
June 13
London, UK
Mahler recital with Wolfram Rieger
June 26 – July 10
Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich Opera
Wagner: Parsifal (Amfortas)
July 14 – 15
Winona, MN
Song of America recitals with Craig Rutenberg

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© 21C Media Group, September 2010

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