At the end of the 20th and in the first decade of the 21st century, no other singer performed with the Berliner Philharmoniker and their chief conductor as often as bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff. Under the direction of Claudio Abbado, he sang orchestral songs by Mahler and the title role in Robert Schumann’s Szenen aus Goethes Faust, and his artistic affinity with Sir Simon Rattle was demonstrated in their joint performances of works by Mozart, Mahler and Gershwin, as well as in the oratorios of Joseph Haydn and Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach. Quasthoff forged his unique career despite severe disabilities as a result of thalidomide.
In 1988 he won the ARD International Music Competition. In 1994 he gave up his job as an announcer with the broadcaster NDR to devote himself entirely to his artistic work. It took him to major festivals, and to all the great concert halls and top orchestras around the world. His accompanists for acclaimed performances and CD recordings of Romantic lieder included Justus Zeyen, Charles Spencer and Daniel Barenboim. In 2012, the artist retired from singing, but remains in the public eye as a jazz musician, narrator, cabaret artist, author and actor. Since 2004, Thomas Quasthoff has continued his earlier teaching career at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin.