Thomas Hampson

2007 Honorary Member

Thomas Hampson is an internationally renowned baritone and has long been an enthusiastic advocate of American music – his most recent project being his popular “Song of America” tour, which took him to eleven cities in 2005–2006. Hampson was recently inducted into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music, and bears the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera as well as Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des letters by the Republic of France. In 2004 he was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences, and in 2005 he received the Netherlands’ Edison Award for Life Achievement. He also holds honorary doctorates from Whitworth College (Spokane, Washington) and the San Francisco Conservatory.

Although he has sung over 60 opera roles and has been involved in some 120 recording projects, Hampson is particularly devoted to American song. It was this passion that launched the first German television program on American song (“Stephen Foster and His World”), the PBS special “I Hear America Singing” (along with a website of the same name), and partnerships between his Hampsong Foundation and the Library of Congress to further the understanding of American song in documenting the nation’s past. Bringing to life songs from the 1700s to the present day, which range from Psalm settings and hymns, folksongs and cowboy songs, to war songs and African American spirituals, he has earned the title “Ambassador of American Song.” Not only did Hampson offer concerts tailor-made for each city’s unique history, he also offered vocal master classes. At the end of the tour Hampson reflected, “my life in song has never been more fulfilling.”