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Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, has received international honors and awards for his captivating artistry and cultural leadership. Lauded as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame,” Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time. With an operatic repertoire of over 80 roles sung in all the major theaters of the world, his discography comprises more than 170 albums, which include multiple nominations and winners of the Grammy Award, Edison Award, 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-ever Artist-in-Residence. In 2010, he was honoured with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he has served as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Furthermore, he has received the famed Concertgebouw Prize.
Hampson was made honorary professor on the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Heidelberg, and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, and is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Wiener Staatsoper and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honour in Arts and Sciences. In 2017, Thomas Hampson received the Hugo Wolf Medal from the International Hugo Wolf Academy, together with his long-time musical collaborator, pianist Wolfram Rieger. The award recognizes their outstanding achievements in the art of song interpretation.
Notable engagements for his 2018/19 season include Thomas Hampson's highly anticipated debut at the Canadian Opera Company, singing the title role in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian, as well as his debut at Houston Grand Opera as the famed librettist Lorenzo da Ponte in the world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix. Other noteworthy engagements include performances as Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca at the Wiener Staatsoper, and his return to Teatro alla Scala as Altair in Strauss’ Die ägyptische Helena.
Thomas Hampson’s concert appearances this season include performances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, and a tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He will share the stage with his son-in-law, bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, for their “No Tenors Allowed” program in Boston, Toronto, and Santa Fe.
The 2018/19 season also marks the exciting launch of Thomas Hampson’s “Song of America: Beyond Liberty” concert tour. Mr. Hampson will guide audiences through centuries of stories using personal anecdotes, historical monologues, and readings of his favorite poetry, to celebrate America’s history through song. The project, developed with stage director Francesca Zambello and writer Royce Vavrek, premiered at the Glimmerglass Festival and will share the rich history of the people and events that helped create and define “the land of the free” with audiences, students, and educators across the US and beyond.
During his 2017/18 season, Thomas returned to the Opéra National de Paris in one of his signature roles, Count Danilo in Lehár’s Die lustige Witwe. He also sang the title role in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Wiener Staatsoper, and Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca at the Bayerische Staatsoper. A highlight of his concert schedule was his debut tour through Australia, where he was critically acclaimed as “a singer of exceptional artistry...[it’s] easy to understand why he was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein” (J-Wire) and he was regarded as “The George Clooney of opera” (Sydney Morning Herald).
Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist, and “ambassador of song,” maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach, and technology. Through the Hampsong Foundation, which he founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.
Thomas Hampson, baritone
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Lara Downes is among the foremost American pianists of her generation, an iconoclast dedicated to expanding the resonance and relevance of American music for diverse audiences. A trailblazer on and off-stage, Downes’ playing has been called “ravishing” by Fanfare Magazine, "luscious, moody and dreamy” by The New York Times, and"addicting - Downes plays with an open, honest heart" by The Huffington Post. Born in San Francisco and raised in Europe, Downes’ interest in connecting music to an inclusive breadth of human experience mines her mixed Jamaican and Russian background.
Her chart-topping release America Again was included in NPR’s “10 Albums that saved 2016” and called “a balm for a country riven by disunion” by the Boston Globe. Downes’ Sony Music debut album FOR LENNY is a centennial tribute to Leonard Bernstein’s music and legacy. The album was presented with the 2017 Classical Recording Foundation Award and appeared in Billboard’s Top 20.
A 2016 Sphinx Medal of Excellence laureate, Downes is recognized as a leading performer, entrepreneur, and cultural visionary. She enjoys collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Rhiannon Giddens, Kevin "K.O." Olusola, Adam Gopnik, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, among others. Downes has performed in Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the U.S. Supreme Court, National Sawdust, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the Vienna Konzerthaus. Additionally, she is Artist-in-Residence at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts - UC Davis, and also directs their National Young Artists Program.
Upcoming engagements include 2018 debuts at the Ravinia Festival and Glimmerglass. New projects feature appearances on Thomas Hampson's 50 State tour Song Of America: Beyond Liberty, a duo cabaret show with vocalist Theo Bleckmann, a world premiere of Maxime Goulet’s piano concerto, and “Holes In The Sky,” a recording and concert program of multi-genre chamber music by women composers and poets, which celebrates the lives and dreams of all women.
Lara Downes is a Yamaha Artist.
Lara Downes, piano