Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist, and “Ambassador of song” and maintains an active interest in research, education, musical outreach and technology. The American baritone has performed in the world’s most important concert halls and opera houses with many renowned singers, pianists, conductors, and orchestras. Recently honored as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger,” he has been praised by the New York Times for his “ceaseless curiosity” and is one of the most respected, innovative, and sought-after soloists performing today.
Hampson’s operatic engagements this season brim with Verdi, from his company role debut as Iago in Otello at the Metropolitan Opera to singing Giorgio Germont in La traviata at the Vienna State Opera. Having wowed critics this fall in the title role of Simon Boccanegra at Chicago’s Lyric Opera, the baritone now looks forward to reprising the Doge at London’s Royal Opera House and, in concert and live recording, at Vienna’s Konzerthaus. It was as Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca that Hampson opened the 2012-13 season at Santa Fe Opera, and he revisits the role at Zurich Opera, where he also portrays Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser this winter. He returns to Wagner in summer 2013, singing Amfortas in Parsifal at the Munich Opera Festival, before rejoining the Salzburg Festival as Rodrigo in a new Pappano/Stein production of Verdi’s Don Carlo.
Hampson’s upcoming international concert and recital engagements include performances in New York, Munich, London, Vienna, San Francisco, and more. He looks forward to gala appearances at Baden-Baden’s Festspielhaus, with Rolando Villazón on New Year’s Eve, and in Amsterdam, where he joins Lang Lang, Janine Jansen, and Mariss Jansons to celebrate the Concertgebouw Orchestra’s 125th anniversary in spring 2013. Other collaborative projects include a European tour with the Wiener Virtuosen (his partners on a 2010 recording of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn), an appearance with the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, and concerts with the Jupiter String Quartet – featuring a world premiere by Mark Adamo – in New York, Boston, and Davis, California. Recent artistic partnerships include performances with the Munich and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras under Zubin Mehta, the National Symphony with Christoph Eschenbach, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. Hampson recently sang Strauss’s orchestral songs with the Pittsburgh Symphony and looks forward to reprising them with the London Philharmonic in spring 2013.
Internationally recognized for his versatility in operatic repertoire both classical and contemporary, last season the baritone created the role of Rick Rescorla in the San Francisco Opera’s world premiere production of Christopher Theofanidis’s Heart of a Soldier, which commemorated the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Other important firsts for Hampson in the 2011-12 season included his role debuts as Iago in Otello and in the title role of Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, both at Zurich Opera, as well as his house role debut as Verdi’s Macbeth at the Metropolitan Opera.
Hampson was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has won worldwide recognition for thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods. Through the Hampsong Foundation (www.hampsongfoundation.org), founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding. He is one of the most important interpreters of German Romantic song and with his celebrated “Song of America” project (www.songofamerica.net), a collaboration with the Library of Congress, he has become known as the “Ambassador of American song.”
The singer’s commitment to cross-cultural communication through music and text was showcased in CNN’s “Fusion Journeys” series, for which Hampson was filmed in South Africa in a musical exchange with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The past season also saw the debut of the “Song of America” radio series, co-produced by the Hampsong Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network of Chicago. Conceived and hosted by the baritone, the series consists of 13 hour-long programs exploring the history of American culture through song, and has aired in more than 250 U.S. markets. A passionate teacher, Hampson will return for master classes to both the Manhattan School of Music’s Distance Learning program and Heidelberger Frühling’s Lied Academy, of which he is the co-founder and artistic director.
Hailing from Spokane, Washington, Hampson has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. Comprising more than 150 albums, his discography includes winners of a Grammy Award, five Edison Awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Residence. In 2010 he was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he serves as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. A 2011 recipient of the famed Concertgebouw Prize, Hampson also holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, besides being an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences. In 2011 Hampson was again named ECHO Klassik’s “Singer of the Year,” marking the fourth time he has received that distinction over a 20-year period.