Great looks and great voice, Thomas Hampson seems to have it all, as concertgoers will discover when the famous baritone appears in E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall for Tuesday Musical, a Knight Arts grantee.
Long applauded for his opera roles, singled out for his recording works with Grammy Awards and others, and heralded as a leading interpreter of German romantic songs (or lieder or art songs, if you will), Hampson will be bringing music out of his highly celebrated “Song of America” project to the Akron stage.
The “Song of America” project reveals the researcher and scholar in Hampson, as well as his gift for music and the performance of it. The singer and his Hampsong Foundation are behind the project, and have the defined purpose of letting people “explore connections between poetry and music, between history and culture, through the work of American composers and poets.”
The project ultimately “is a database resource where you can listen to songs, learn more about them, read their lyrics, find scores and link to relevant Web sites.” There you can find music, lyrics and poetry set to music that extends back 250 years. Drawing heavily on the resources at the Library of Congress,” Hampson has created a unique project that allows the listener to experience the poetic and musical legacy of song that has shaped American culture through the centuries.”
For his Tuesday Musical performance, Hampson, who is lauded as “an ambassador of American music,” will be bringing twenty-some pieces with quite a range in them – from an anonymous 16th century work through the 20th century, and representing artists and their songs ranging from folk ballad works of Stephen Foster and Paul Bowles through the more specifically art songs of composers like Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and Virgil Thompson.
The concert will begin with “My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free,” a piece written and composed by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a man called the first important American songwriter. It is scheduled to end with “Danny Deever” by German-born American composer Walter Damrosch, who first conducted George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
Definitely lots of Americana.
Thomas Hampson will perform for Tuesday Musical at 7:30p.m. Thursday, October 18, in E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, 198 Hill St., Akron; 330-972-7570; www.ejthomashall.com. Tickets costs from $25-$45.