Thomas Hampson, baritone
Wolfram Rieger, piano

Thomas Hampson

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Tuesday, February 26
Herbst Theatre
Premium $80/$59/$39




Thomas Hampson sings Schumann


SCHUMANN: Liederkreis, Op. 39
MICHAEL HERSCH: Domicilium [World Premiere]
A song cycle after poems of Thomas Hardy
BARBER: With Rue My Heart is Laden; Night Wanderers; Rain has fallen; Nocturne, Opus 13; Now Have I Fed and Eaten Up the Rose, Opus 45.1; A Green Lowland of Pianos, Opus 45.2; and O Boundless, Boundless Evening, Opus 45.3

BARBER: Sure On This Shining Night, Opus 13, No. 3
COPLAND: Long Time Ago (from Old American Songs)

About This Performance

The celebrated baritone makes his highly anticipated return to SF Performances, with which he has enjoyed a decades-long association. Although Hampson has performed in the major opera houses and concert halls of the world, his secret passion is the intimate song recital, where his powers of musical story-telling and arresting stage presence shine.

This performance is made possible in part through the generous support of Robert and Maura Morey.

Artist Biography

Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as a recitalist, opera singer, and recording artist, and maintains an active interest in t’aching, research, and technology. The American baritone has performed in all of the world’s most important concert halls and opera houses with many renowned singers, pianists, conductors, and orchestras. Praised by the New York Times for his “ceaseless curiosity,” he is one of the most respected, innovative, and sought-after soloists performing today.

Hampson has won worldwide recognition for his thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods. He is one of the most important interpreters of German Romantic song, and with his celebrated “Song of America” project (, a collaboration with the Library of Congress, has become the “ambassador” of American song. Through the Hampsong Foundation, founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.

Hampson begins his 2011–12 season at San Francisco Opera, where he will create the role of Rick Rescorla in the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’s Heart of a Soldier. The new opera, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, features a libretto by Donna Di Novelli and is directed by Francesca Zambello. Based on the 2002 book by James B. Stewart, the work is inspired by the true story of Rescorla, his wife, Susan, and his friend Daniel J. Hill, culminating in Rescorla’s tragic death in the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center following his heroic evacuation of all 2,700 employees of Morgan Stanley. Hampson’s other operatic engagements this season include Iago in Verdi’’s Otello and the title role in Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, both at Zurich Opera, and Verdi’s Macbeth at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

Among other season highlights for Hampson are the opening night gala concert with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra, marking two anniversaries: the orchestra’s 80th and the Kennedy Center’s 40th; Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Munich Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta; Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel; Brahms’s Requiem and Dvořák’s Biblical Songs with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck; and recitals in the U.S., Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Austria (Vienna’s Musikverein), including “Song of America” programs in New York and Cologne. The 2011–12 season will also see the debut of the syndicated “Song of America” radio series, co-produced by the Hampsong Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network of Chicago for release in October. Hosted by Hampson, the series will consists of 13 one-hour programs exploring the history of American culture through song, bringing the “Song of America” project to a national audience of radio listeners.

Hampson’s 2010–11 season was dominated by performances celebrating the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth and the 100th anniversary of his death. Recognized as today’s leading interpreter of the Austrian composer’s songs, the baritone began the worldwide celebrations on July 7, 2010—Mahler’s 150th birthday—in Kaliste, Czech Republic, with a recital from the composer’s birth house, streamed live on, as well as an internationally televised orchestral concert, available on DVD. Throughout the season he performed Mahler with orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, and the Czech Philharmonic with conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Mariss Jansons, Philippe Jordan, and Antonio Pappano. Hampson also featured the composer’s songs in recitals in Munich, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, Milan and Oslo, and presented the complete songs as “Mahler Artist-in-Residence” at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. His new recording of Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Wiener Virtuosen—a conductorless ensemble comprising principal players of the Vienna Philharmonic—was widely acclaimed.

Additional highlights of Hampson’s 2010–11 season included season-opening performances in the title role of a new production of Verdi’s Macbeth at Lyric Opera of Chicago; three all-Strauss concerts with Renée Fleming and the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Christian Thielemann; selections from George Crumb’s American Songbooks, with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; “Song of America” recitals at Duke University and Minnesota Beethoven Festival; and the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Laura Sonnets, written especially for him. In Switzerland, he performed at Zurich Opera in new productions of Verdi’s I Masnadieri and Wagner’s Parsifal under Adam Fischer and Daniele Gatti, and appeared in a series of opera galas. In March 2011 he oversaw the inaugural season of the Heidelberg Lied Academy, of which he is artistic director; the academy is part of the Heidelberger Frühling music festival and trains young singers in text-based song interpretation.

Raised in Spokane, Washington, Hampson has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. His discography of more than 150 albums includes winners of a Grammy Award, two Edison Prizes, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, Whitworth College (WA), and the San Francisco Conservatory, and is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. In the 2009–10 season he served as the New York Philharmonic’s first artist in residence, and in 2011 he received the Concertgebouw Prize. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences in 2004. He is the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award recipient from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and in 2008 was named Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America by Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. In 2010, Hampson was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Wolfram Rieger received his first piano lessons from his parents and later from Konrad Pfeiffer in Regensburg. He soon developed a deep affection for Lied interpretation and therefore continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich with the famous Lied pianists Erik Werba and Helmut Deutsch. In 1987, after winning a diploma with distinction, he attended several masterclasses with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and began teaching at the Munich Hochschule für Musik. In 1991 he started his own Lieder class for singers and pianists, and in 1993 and 1994 coached a Lieder class at the Berlin Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik. In 1995 he left his Lieder class, becoming professor of a Lied class at the Berlin Hochschule in 1998. He has frequently accompanied masterclasses by Brigitte Fassbaender, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Hans Hotter, and since 1991 has regularly held masterclasses throughout Europe and Japan. Wolfram Rieger frequently appears both as a recital accompanist and chamber musician at many important venues in Europe, North America, and the Middle and Far East, collaborating with such renowned artists as Brigitte Fassbaender, Barbara Bonney, Juliane Banse, Thomas Hampson, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Olaf Bär, Peter Schreier, Christoph Prégardien, the Cherubini Quartet, the Vogler Quartet, and the Petersen Quartet among many others. His recent engagements have included concerts at the Schubertiade Feldkirch, Schubertiada a Vilabertran, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Munich Festivals, Konzerthaus Berlin and Kölner Philharmonie. A prolific recording artist, he is well-represented on numerous CDs. Awards and distinctions include the honorary medal of the Associació Franz Schubert de Barcelona in 1997.

Michael Hersch is widely considered “one of the most fertile musical minds to emerge in the U.S. over the past generation,” (The Financial Times of London), Michael Hersch continues to compose music of tremendous power and invention. His work has been conducted in the U.S. and abroad by conductors including Mariss Jansons, Alan Gilbert, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Giancarlo Guerrero, Carlos Kalmar, Yuri Temirkanov, James DePriest, and Gerard Schwarz, and has been performed by the major orchestras of Cleveland, Saint Louis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Cincinnati, Seattle and Oregon; festivals including the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Chicago’s Grant Park Festival; and ensembles including the String Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and the Blair String Quartet, among others. He has written for such soloists as Garrick Ohlsson, Thomas Hampson, Midori, Boris Pergamenschikow, Shai Wosner, Walter Boeykens, Michael Sachs, and Daniel Gaisford. His solo and chamber works have appeared on programs throughout the world - from the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center to the Philharmonie in Berlin; from the British Museum and the Dartington New Music Festival in the U.K., to the Romaeuropa Festival in Italy; from Tanglewood in Boston to the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.

Also regarded among today's most formidable pianists, Mr. Hersch has appeared on the Van Cliburn Foundation’s Modern at the Modern Series, the Romaeuropa Festival, the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., Cleveland’s Reinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall, the Festival of Contemporary Music Nuova Consonanza, the Warhol Museum, the Network for New Music Concert Series, the Left Bank Concert Society, Festa Europea della Musica, St. Louis' Sheldon Concert Hall, and in New York City at Merkin Concert Hall, the 92nd St. Y—Tisch Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, among others.

His music increasingly recorded, Vanguard Classics is in the midst of an acclaimed three volume survey of Mr. Hersch’s complete music for solo strings. This project comes several years after the landmark 2007 boxed-set release of Mr. Hersch’s, The Vanishing Pavilions, with the composer at the keyboard. Mr. Hersch’s second disc for the label, featuring the composer performing his own works in addition to those of Feldman, Rihm and Josquin, was selected by The Washington Post and New York Newsday as among the most important recordings of 2004-05. That disc followed-up his 2003 debut, which features Mr. Hersch performing his Two Pieces for Piano and Recordatio, with additional performances of Mr. Hersch's chamber works for strings by the String Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic. In 2006, a recording of Mr. Hersch’s orchestral works, including his early Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2, was released on the Naxos American Classics series with Marin Alsop conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Washington D.C. in 1971, Michael Hersch first came to international attention at age twenty-five, when he was awarded First Prize in the American Composers Awards. The award resulted in a performance of his Elegy, conducted by Marin Alsop in New York's Alice Tully Hall in early 1997. Later that year he became one of the youngest recipients ever of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition. Mr. Hersch has also been the recipient of the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, and both the Charles Ives Scholarship and Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Mr. Hersch was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Norfolk Festival for Contemporary Music, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. He studied at the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore with additional studies at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia. He currently serves as chairman of the Department of Composition at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.


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