Thomas Hampson’s decades-long championing of the music of Gustav Mahler reaches new heights in the coming weeks with the release of his new recording with the Wiener Virtuosen of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn on Deutsche Grammophon (Dec 21). Music-lovers worldwide will have the chance to preview the new release when it is available for streaming in its entirety as part of NPR Music’s popular “First Listen” series (Dec 13-21, at www.npr.org/series/98679384/first-listen). Soon after, Hampson heads to New York to sing the composer’s Kindertotenlieder in three concerts with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Alan Gilbert (Jan 6-8). While in New York, Hampson will perform and discuss songs by Mahler – as well as music by Schubert, Schumann, and some American composers – in a front of a live studio audience at the the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR (Jan 10). This will be broadcast live at 7pm on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR and www.wqxr.org and available as a live video webcast at www.thegreenespace.org. The music of Gustav Mahler, who was born 150 years ago and died a century ago next May, is the centerpiece of Hampson’s 2010-11 season, when the baritone will perform Mahler’s music in 50 recital and concert programs with the world’s greatest orchestras and leading conductors. A film crew has been following Hampson throughout his Mahler odyssey, preparing a documentary about Mahler’s life and music that will be broadcast this spring in Europe.