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Musical World

Thomas Hampson

  • Baritone
  • Teacher

Biography

Much of Thomas Hampson’s 2009/10 season is devoted to the "Song of America" project, which this year commemorates the 250th anniversary of what is recognized as the first song written by an American (“My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free”, composed in 1759 by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence). Collaborating with the Library of Congress, Hampson is performing recitals and presenting master classes, educational activities, exhibitions and broadcasts across the country and through a new interactive online resource, www.songofamerica.net. As part of the project, he has just released a new album, Wondrous Free – Song of America II, on his own label Thomas Hampson Media.

This season Hampson becomes the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist in Residence. As well as performing three programs with the orchestra, and going on tour in Europe under the Philharmonic’s new music director, Alan Gilbert, Hampson will give a recital in Alice Tully Hall, master classes at the Juilliard school, and three lectures entitled “Listening to Thought” in the orchestra’s “Insight” series. Other 2009/10 engagements include performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah under Kurt Masur in Leipzig; Verdi’s Ernani and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with the Zurich Opera; La traviata at the Metropolitan Opera; solo recitals throughout the United States and in many European capitals; and appearances at the galas of the Vienna State Opera and the new Winspear Opera House in Dallas.

Last season’s highlights included Hampson's anticipated role debut as Scarpia in Tosca at the Zurich Opera, and his notable portrayals of Athanaël in Thaïs at the Metropolitan Opera and Germont in La traviata at the Royal Opera House – the latter two opposite Renée Fleming. He also took part in the gala opening nights of both the Metropolitan Opera, broadcast live in HD worldwide, and Carnegie Hall, broadcast nationally on PBS.

Raised in Spokane, Washington, Hampson has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. His discography of more than 150 albums includes winners of a Grammy Award, two Edison Prizes and the Grand Prix du Disque. Hampson holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, Whitworth College, WA, and the San Francisco Conservatory, and he is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France. He was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences in 2004, and in 2005 he received the Edison Life Achievement Award. In 2008 he was named Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America by Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. Hampson received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington DC.