Thomas Quasthoff (Bass-Baritone)
Born: 9th November 1959, Hildesheim, Germany
Thomas Quasthoff was born Germany in 1959 and applied to study music at the Hanover conservatory but was refused a place owing to his physical inability to play the piano: due to his mother’s exposure to thalidomide, he was born with phocomelia and is only 1.34 metres tall. Before his singing career took off, Quasthoff studied law and worked in radio and voice-over; in 1988 he won the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, and by the mid-90s he was in high demand for concert performances of repertoire from Bach to Penderecki.
Quasthoff’s discography includes Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Brahms’s Deutsches Requiem (which won a Grammy and Gramophone Award in 2007) and Peter Sellar’s ‘ritualisation’ of the St Matthew Passion with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker, Italian opera arias by Haydn with Gottfried von der Goltz and the Freiburger Barockorchester, Mahler’s Des knaben Wunderhorn with Anne Sofie von Otter and Claudio Abbado, and Bach cantatas with the Berliner Barock Solisten (Best Classical Solo Vocal Album at the 2005 Grammys).
He retired from classical performance in 2012, but has continued to record as a jazz-singer and speaker/narrator (including taking the role of Bassa Selim on Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s 2015 recording of Die Entführung aus dem Serail.