New York / Berlin, January 17, 2018
When bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff announced his retirement from public performance as a Lieder singer in 2012, he left a hole in both the jazz and the classical worlds, which until today has not been filled. But the three-time Grammy Award-winning artist was sure that the time was right because he had no other choice. “It is no secret that extreme feelings make you speechless. After the death of my brother, my voice literally left me and I felt that I could no longer fulfill the expectations I had of myself and my artistry. That’s why I gave up my career as a classical singer. Luckily, my voice came slowly back to me, and today I stand here as a very happy person and I dedicate this new album to my brother Michael.”
Sony Classical is proud to be able to join Thomas Quasthoff on his return to the recording studio. The first album, due for release in May 2018, will be a diverse programme of jazz classics with the celebrated NDR Bigband - The Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra and his trio partners Frank Chastenier, Dieter Ilg and Wolfgang Haffner.
Quasthoff has loved both the core classical and jazz repertoire with equal passion since childhood. One of the earliest recordings he fell in love with at the age of 10 was Oscar Peterson’s History of an Artist, and his own travels in the world of jazz have met with huge acclaim. ‘His They All Laughed is Ella good… he suggests the artistry of Johnny Hartmann crossed with the play-to-the-balcony power and glory of Broadway’s Brian Stokes Mitchell’ said Jazz Times of his disc The Jazz Album.
The 58-year-old bass-baritone had also carved out a career as one of the most admired Lieder and concert singers of his generation. Along with the Grammy Awards, which he won in 2000, 2004 and 2006 for his benchmark recordings of Mahler, Schubert and Bach, he was also awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal – the highest honour of the classical music world - in 2009.
Since his retirement, Quasthoff has devoted his energy to a range of new challenges. He has made his debut as a conductor; he has performed speaking roles in concerts and operas; and he has turned his vocal cords to cabaret and stand-up comedy. He has also appeared as an actor, playing the role of Feste more than forty times in the Berliner Ensemble’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, under the direction of Katharina Thalbach. He also continues to teach at the Hanns Eisler Music Academy in Berlin.
‘I am a lucky man,’ he says. ‘To many people, it might sound odd that I see myself as lucky. Many things in my life didn’t work out straight away. But I could never accept a ‘no’, and I always had people who believed in me.’