German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff was born with severe birth defects due to his mother's use of the drug thalidomide, in Hildesheim, on 9 November 1959.
On 11 January 2011, Quasthoff, still in his early fifties, decided to say farewell to the concert stage and a career lasting almost four decades.
'I've decided myself, after almost forty years, to retire from the concert scene, due to persistent health issues', he stated. 'I owe much to the profession, and go without bitterness. On the contrary, I am looking forward to new challenges in my life. I want to thank all my fellow musicians, colleagues with whom I could stand together on stage, all the organisers and my audience for their loyalty.'
Quasthoff has continued to devote himself intensively to young singers, teaching at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin and at international masterclasses. He also continues to preside over the international song content Das Lied, launched in 2009.
He later returned to performance, including in various spoken roles.
CD Spotlight. Subliminal Pedagogy - John Dante Prevedini listens to Thomas Quasthoff singing Schubert, Mahler and J S Bach at Verbier. 'Taken within the context of Verbier, this album documents just as effectively his gift for pedagogical modeling as it does his vocal virtuosity.'
A Higher Standard - Malcolm Miller reports from the Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition
CD Spotlight. Superbly Cogent - A new recording of Schubert's 'Winterreise', reviewed by Howard Smith. '... Steve Davislim and Anthony Romaniuk have earned a place among the highest achievers ...'