Bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff retires from the concert stage


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German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff announced Wednesday that he will, effective immediately, no longer be giving concerts.

In a press release posted on his website, Quasthoff writes,


“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 has serious birth defects from thalidomide poisoning, which shortened his arms and legs.

He has long been a committed professor of voice and encourager of young singers. He will continue in his post at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule in Berlin, as well as giving master classes and overseeing his biennial voice competition, ‘Das Lied.’

Have a listen to Quasthoff, one of the few classically trained singers who can do jazz, pop and blues as idiomatically as they do Schubert, singing ‘Georgia on My Mind’ from his 2011 disc ‘Tell It Like It Is.’

And here, with Daniel Barenboim on keys, he sings ‘Gute Nacht’ from Schubert’s song cycle ‘Die Winterreise.’

--Marcia Adair