German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff has decided to end his stage career and focus on teaching, due to health reasons.
Quasthoff announced his immediate retirement from the concert stage in a press release posted on his website.
He said: ‘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.’
In the brief statement, the singer also thanked his fellow musicians, audience and colleagues for ‘their loyalty’, adding ‘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.’
Quasthoff, who was one of thousands of ‘Thalidomide babies’ who were born with defects because their mothers took the drug during pregnancy, announced in September 2011 that he was cancelling the remainder of his 2011 engagements because of persistent laryngitis.
The bass-baritone who made his name as a Lieder singer, has received many awards including three Grammy awards and six Echo Awards as well as the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2005 and Wigmore Hall’s Medal in recognition of his services to music and to the Hall in 2011. He last appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall, New York in April 2011 where he sang alongside soprano Sylvia Schwartz, mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink and tenor Michael Schade.
Quasthoff will continue teaching at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin as well as at international master classes.