Thomas Quasthoff - Life ExamplesLife Examples

Thomas Quasthoff (Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, November 9, 1.959) is a german baritone and bass-baritone.

It is one of the greatest performers of his generation equally comfortable in Lieder recitals, opera and jazz, standing as a recitalist in the baroque repertoire, oratories and Liederabend.

Born with severe physical deformities caused by the drug thalidomide which was prescribed to her mother during pregnancy, in 1.972 was rejected by the Hannover Conservatory fitness.

He took private lessons with Charlotte Lehmann and Carol Richardson and in 1.988 won the Munich International Competition, being praised by legendary Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
In 2.003 he debuted in the opera stages with Simon Rattle in Berlin and Fidelio in 2.004 debuted at the Vienna State Opera as Amfortas in Wagner's Parsifal conducted by Donald Runnicles.

He has performed as a recitalist at Carnegie Hall, San Francisco, Chicago, Lucerne, Verbier, Stockholm, Hamburg, Vienna, Amsterdam, London, Berlin and other scenarios.

Requested by directors like Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Christian Thielemann, Donald Runnicles and Franz Welser-Möst, conducts a series of remarkable recordings, winning Grammy award four times.

It has a permanent chair in the Musikhochschule Detmold and the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where he lives.

His jazz album The Jazz Album: Watch What Happens did meet new audiences.

In 2.006, filmmaker Michael Harder The Dreamer filmed documentary about the singer.
In 2.012, he decides to end his career due to health problems, having spent forty years of his life to the song.

However continue imparting his teaching to students in the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin.

The story

In 1.972, a young German singer tried to enter the Hannover Conservatory.

The center's rules prevented it from being accepted.

The reason given for this was that he could not pursue complementary piano.

No appeal to other than the intrinsic quality of its examination, the boy dropped his claim and began studying with a private teacher.

Quasthoff had been born on 9 November 1959 in Hildesheim (Germany) with severe physical malformation, was born without arms and with a much lower height than average, 1 m 43 cm.

This wine caused by ingesting taliomida; medically prescribed substance was his mother for their ailments during pregnancy, and caused thousands of similar cases in Europe.

Forty-three years later, some constants have not changed in the life of this sensational bass baritone, or maybe German lyric baritone, one of the foremost interpreters of his generation : Quasthoff never wanted to become an example of overcoming a disability but being recognized solely by the quality of his performance.

However, it is astonishing that a person of such difficulties, with a short torso, has succeeded in developing a technique that allows artistically interpret, to a level that has allowed a few years become a prominent figure in the international opera scene.

Quasthoff began his musical studies at age ten, and being refused at the Conservatory, with thirteen years, decided to take singing lessons (which would last for seventeen years) with Professor Charlotte Lehmann, known performer of oratorio, and theory and music history with Hubert Ernst-Contwig.

The quality of this early work it can be summarized in a quote from Dietrich Fischer Dieskau recognized interpreter, following inviting him to sing Schubert's Winterreise in Cologne in 1997.

 "It is clear to anyone who has listened to Thomas Quasthoff which has a surprisingly wonderful voice and has had prior training excellent."

Later, he went to the classroom of Professor Carol Richardson, who work more deeply the opera repertoire.

While studying law degree, Quasthoff found work as a radio announcer. Even got some fame, completed their income, for a while, as a jazz singer in nightclubs.

After winning his first awards in international competitions, in 1988, his recitals and concerts began to increase considerably.

Later, in 1996, Thomas Quasthoff quit his job at the radio to start an information campaign at the Musikhochschule in Detmold.

The family environment experienced by the young singer, next to his parents and a brother without physical problems will always be difficult to understand and to define in a biography.

Those who have had personal interviews with him, admired his wit, irony of life, optimism and energy, but more statements and interviews that tell us how were your early years, it is impossible to really assess the effect of mind that his illness might have on your life and his relationship with the environment.

In any case, the conclusion can only be positive because Quasthoff has managed fully develop their musical talent and build a personality that keeps her singing career.

With all the stresses involved (travel, trials in difficult conditions, dealing with directors, singers and artistic personalities more or less pleasant, concerts and recitals) and also successfully engage the pedagogy of singing.

Quasthoff was Rca exclusive artist and since 1999, it is Deustsche Grammophon.

His international tours led him to spend several months a year traveling, but he says he does not like to spend much time off work as a teacher.

His concert activity grows from year to year, and its repertoire.

Discography of reference:

Bach Cantatas, Rainer Kussmaul
Bach: Christmas Oratorio. Münchner Bachsolisten, Karl Friedrich Beringer.
Bach: St. Matthew Passion. Bach Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling.
Bach, Mass in B minor. Solisten Münchner Bach, Karl Friedrich Beringer.
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Berlin Philharmonic. Claudio Abbado.
Beethoven, Fidelio. Sir Colin Davis.
Brahms and Liszt: Lieder. Justus Zeyen, piano
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker
Dvorak: Stabat Mater. Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra. Helmut Rilling.
Handel: Messiah. Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra. Helmut Rilling.
Mahler. Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo. Address: Claudio Abbado. Berlin Philharmonic.
Mozart: Opera Arias. Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn, Jörg Faeber.
Loewe: Ballads. Norman Shetler, piano.
Mozart: Coronation Mass. Staatskapelle Dresden, Peter Schreier.
Schoenberg: Gurrelieder. Berlin Philharmonic. Sir Simon Rattle.
Schumann: Dichterliebe-Liederkreis. Roberto Szidon, piano.
Schubert: Goethe Lieder. Charles Spencer, piano.
Schubert: Winterreise. Charles Spencer, piano.
Schubert: Winterreise. Daniel Barenboim, piano (DVD)
Schwanengesang Schubert, Brahms, Fri Ernste Gesänge. Justus Zeyen, piano.
Schumann: Genoveva. Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Nikolaus Harnoncourt.


Berlin Film Festival, 1.984, Kaminski Award
Mozart Festival in Würzburg
1988 First Prize in the Competition of Munich Ard.
Musical Youth Bratislava
Shostakovich Prize, Moscow
Echo Prize 1998
Grammy, 1998
Cannes Classical Award. 1.998
Echo Prize 2.001
Grammy 2.006
Grammy 2.008
Ring of Honour - Hildesheim
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

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