Born in Elkhart, Indiana, Thomas Hampson began his professional career as a voice student of Sr. Marietta Coyle, and at the age of 19 first appeared in an opera production. During the following years Mr. Hampson studied with Martial Singher, Horst Günter, and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. In 1984 he joined the roster of the Zurich Opera, where he collaborated frequently with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Mr. Hampson’s encounter with Leonard Bernstein had a strong impact on his life and career, and led the way to his becoming one of today’s leading interpreters of the music of Gustav Mahler. His passion for the lied repertoire, however, is not restricted to the German Romantics—he has devoted himself especially to composers of his native country and has initiated and been involved in a number of concert series and recordings as well as TV and multimedia projects.
Mr. Hampson’s musical versatility has allowed him to be equally successful in opera, operetta, oratorio, and musical theater. He has made guest appearances at the world’s major opera houses while being particularly associated with, aside from the Zurich Opera, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Vienna State Opera.
Mr. Hampson has been awarded several honorary doctorates, honorary membership in the Royal Academy of Music, the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and the Austrian Honorary Medal (Ehrenkreuz) for Science and Art.
Baritone Thomas Hampson recalls how his first meeting with Leonard Bernstein went from a 20-minute audition to an hour-long discussion of music.
© 2008 The Carnegie Hall Corporation.