Thomas Quasthoff leaves the stage

“Quasthoff has a mellifluous bass baritone (more and more drifting down toward the bass
end of the spectrum) with deeply felt musical instincts and a radiant artistic
The New York Times 2008.

German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff has announced his retirement from the stage after a performing career of several decades.

He says:

“After almost 40 years, I have decided to retire from concert life. My health no longer allows me to live up to the high standard that I have always set for my art and myself. I owe a lot to this wonderful profession and leave without a trace of bitterness. On the contrary, I am looking forward to the new challenges that will now enter my life. I would like to thank all my fellow musicians and colleagues, with whom I stood together on stage, all the organizers, and my audience for their loyalty.” 

Quasthoff distinguished himself in the fields of Lieder and concert repertoire.  for the past 10 years, Quasthoff has recorded exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon, winning three Grammy Awards. He has worked on stage with most of the greatest conductors of the 20th century – Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti and Zubin Mehta.

Quasthoff has been in demand the world over for his renditions of the songs of Mahler, Brahms, Schubert. His work in the sacred repertoire has
been extensive from JS Bach’s St John Passion through the works of Haydn and Mozart, to Britten’s War Requiem.

Quasthoff’s success is hard won.  Born in Germany in 1959, he was affected by thalidomide. He is a little over 4 feet tall and his legs, hands and feet are not properly developed. Despite this he made his debut on the opera stage as Don Fernando in Fidelio with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004, the first of several operatic roles.

In his 2008 memoir The Voice, Quasthoff acknowledges the bullying he faced as a child, and the fact that as a professional he has had to face allegations that his success has been buoyed by his disability. He has remained adamant that his voice is unrelated to his disability.

Quasthoff will continue to teach, giving international master classes and at the Hans Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin. He launched and presides over the international song competition Das Lied, and he will also host a talk show on TV.

Read the full press release:

..and John Rockwell’s New York Times review of
Quasthoff’s memoir:




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