Thomas Quasthoff -- Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels
October 2, 2006 8:17 AM Subscribe
“The leader of the jury looked at his papers and said in the first round: ‘I know a disabled person is coming. I want the jury to close their eyes. I don’t want them to be touched in any way.’ ” As if, of course, one needed to know about Thomas Quasthoff's Thalidomide-related severe physical handicaps to be moved by the sound of his voice. He goes seamlessly from pianissimo to fortissimo, in his recitals a single Lied becomes "a major, stunning drama playing out in a few minutes". He sang jazz to support himself in university and it remains a passion (he likes to sing Paul Robeson or even Frank Sinatra encores), but he's famously leery of crossover artists like Andrea Bocelli. Just don't cough during his recitals -- "because I love this music so much". He doesn't like to talk much about his nightmarish childhood and teenage years, plagued by surgeries and body casts -- "I have in my past time had very difficult years, very difficult years" is all he'll usually say -- so please try not to consider him a victim, because he doesn't see himself as such: "I don't think people are moved because I am disabled. I think it's because I have something to say." More inside.
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