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Thomas Quasthoff takes leave of the concert stage

11 JAN 2012

published in: General

Thomas Quasthoff (Photo: Andre Rival)
The German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff has decided to take his leave of the concert stage, ending his unequalled career as a singer which lasted almost 40 years. “I have decided to withdraw from active concert life after almost 40 years, as my health no longer allows me to fulfill the expectations I have always had of myself and of my art. I have much to be grateful for professionally, and I take my leave without bitterness. On the contrary – I look forward to the new challenges my life will bring. I thank all my musician colleagues whom I had the good fortune to share the stage with, all the presenters and my audience for their faithfulness,” Thomas Quasthoff says in his official statement.

“A person like Thomas Quasthoff is irreplaceable at the Salzburg Festival. His voice, which is special in every way, has touched, impressed and often shocked his audiences as well as the press. Since 2002, Quasthoff gave unforgettable song recitals here. He also made his opera debut in 2003 in Fidelio at the Salzburg Easter Festival. This was followed in 2004 by his appearance as Amfortas on the stage of the Vienna State Opera.” Thus, the Salzburg Festival’s President, Helga Rabl-Stadler, commented on the sad new that Thomas Quasthoff was withdrawing from the concert stage.

Artistic Director Alexander Pereira deeply regrets the fact that Thomas Quasthoff will cease to give concerts. “He was and is an incredible role model, not only as a singer, but also as a human being. The fact that he will stay active as a teacher and in master classes is wonderful news. Of course, all doors will be open to him in Salzburg in this capacity.”

Quasthoff will continue to dedicate much of his time to young singers, teaching at the Music Academy “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin and at international master classes. For years, Thomas Quasthoff dedicated himself intensively to the art song, and thus he initiated the international song competition “Das Lied” in 2009, which he will continue to serve as artistic director. Furthermore, he will also make live appearances as a narrator, at readings and as part of the new series Thomas Quasthoffs Nachtgespräche at Berlin’s Konzerthaus.

At the Salzburg Festival, the bass-baritone last performed a song recital in 2009, the same year he was heard with the Berlin Philharmonic in Haydn’s oratorio Die Jahreszeiten.

Thomas Quasthoff’s farewell to the concert stage also affects the song recital that had been announced for the upcoming Salzburg Festival on August 18. We will do our best to announce the replacement as soon as possible.

The German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff received his education from Charlotte Lehmann and Ernst Huber-Contwig in Hanover and made his name early on through victories at competitions, including First Prize of the International Music Competition of the ARD in 1988. Today he is ranked among the foremost lied and concert singers on the international scene, appearing in all the world’s major music centers. He has been Artiste étoile at the Lucerne Festival, Artist in Residence of the Vienna Musikverein and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and Perspective Artist with many concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall. His engagements have included collaborations with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Christian Thielemann, Franz Welser-Möst, and the world’s major orchestras. He has been a guest artist at the festivals of Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lucerne, Verbier, at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, in Schwetzingen and Schleswig-Holstein, as well as at the Ravinia Festival and Tanglewood Festival.

His versatility is demonstrated by his Grammy Award-winning recordings of lieder by Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, and Mahler; sacred works of Bach and Mozart; as well as a jazz project with Till Brönner. Among his latest recordings, an album of Italian arias by Joseph Haydn stands out.

He made his operatic debut in 2003 at the Salzburg Easter Festival, as Don Fernando in Beethoven’s Fidelio under Sir Simon Rattle. In April 2004 he was Amfortas in a new production of Parsifal at the Vienna State Opera.

Thomas Quasthoff is also dedicated to developing young singing talents. To this end, he taught from 1996 to 2004 at the Music Academy in Detmold; and since then has occupied a teaching chair at the Music Academy “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin. In addition, he assumed the artistic directorship of the International Lied Competition “Das Lied” in Berlin, held for the first time in 2009, which he also initiated.

Thomas Quasthoff has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and in 2006 was honored with the European Culture Prize. In 2009 he was awarded the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize and the title Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera.

Thomas Quasthoff records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon.