This month, Thomas Hampson – recently named the recipient of the 2011 Concertgebouw Prize – returns to Europe for an extensive series of concerts and recitals, bringing his season-long “Mahler Odyssey” to a grand conclusion. Following performances of an all-Richard Strauss program with Renée Fleming and the Berlin Philharmonic under Christian Thielemann (May 5-7), Hampson joins the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert on tour for the second consecutive season, this time taking an all-Mahler program to six major Central European music capitals (May 12-23). The program, featuring Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Kindertotenlieder, will be given in Basel, (May 12), Baden-Baden (May 13), Vienna (May 15), Berlin (May 19), Dresden (May 21), and Leipzig (May 23); the Vienna and Berlin dates bookend the centenary, on May 18, of Mahler’s death. The tour will be followed by a string of Mahler recitals with pianist Wolfram Rieger, including appearances in Zurich (May 29), Amsterdam (May 31), Brussels (June 4), Vienna (June 6), and London (June 13).
Hampson will receive his Concertgebouw Award at a gala dinner in the Great Hall of Amsterdam’s famed Concertgebouw on Wednesday, June 8. The American baritone is only the sixth artist to be awarded the prize, which is given to “a musician or ensemble that, over time, has contributed significantly to the artistic profile of the Concertgebouw.” Previous laureates were mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli (2004), the Beaux Arts Trio (2006), conductor Bernard Haitink (2007), the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (2009), and Maurizio Pollini (2010).