Thomas Quasthoff

There is one day the music conservatory in Hannover will never forget. It was about ten years ago when the renowned music school refused to admit a young singer because he couldn't play the piano. Rules are there to be followed, they thought, but it was really not the candidate's fault that he couldn't fulfill the requirements. Thomas Quasthoff was born in 1959 with no arms because his mother had used the morning sickness drug "Thalidomide." After being rejected, Thomas Quasthoff continued his voice training with a private teacher, and his persistence paid off. Today, the bass baritone who stands about four feet tall is one of the most-demanded Lied and oratorio singers of his generation. His career has moved at a mind-boggling pace. Around this time, for instance, he has had two very important breakthroughs in the United States where he made his debut only three years ago. Alongside Ben Heppner, he sang the deep voice part of Mahler's "Song of the Earth" with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and this week (Nov. 12/13/14), he is appearing with the New York Philharmonic under Sir Colin Davis in Mahler's song cycle "Des Knaben Wunderhorn." American media are all over the German voice miracle, and Georg Hirsch, too, spoke with Thomas Quasthoff in New York.

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