Thomas Quasthoff

Books Reviews Thomas Quasthoff
Thomas Quasthoff

A giant talent, after all

German-born bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff is one of the most versatile singers of our time, equally at home with the lieder of Schumann, the bel canto of Handel and American standards. (He croons “My Funny Valentine” with an intimate intensity halfway between a sob and a sigh.) His scat singing dazzles.

Quasthoff stands barely four feet tall. In concert, he teeters across the stage on stilts attached to his feet like flippers. In place of arms, two finger-like fins emerge from his chest. Quasthoff was born in 1959 with physical deformities caused by an improperly tested drug.

Without the slightest trace of self pity, he recounts in this book the obstacles he has overcome—from taunts at school to a music conservatory’s refusal to admit him because he obviously was unable to study piano, a requirement for voice majors. Nonetheless, as this wonderful read reveals, his formidable intellect, astounding talent and iron will have given us a human and artistic treasure.

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