Quasthoff makes comeback as conductor

Quasthoff makes comeback as conductor


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2015

The music world wept when the great Thomas Quastoff, 52, gave up singing for health reasons in January 2012.

Since then, he has done cabaret, TV presenting and other things.

But the music in the man needs an outlet.

At Verbier, on July 24, he will conduct Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

No fuss, no publicity. Just Tommy inhabiting music, his milieu.

Thomas Quasthoff


  • Paul Tindall says:

    Great news – but how will he turn the pages of the score, with his disability ?

    Would he conduct the whole thing from memory ?

  • Frank says:

    How possible? He doesn’t have any arms. This sounds like an Onion story.

  • Paul Tindall says:

    He could use a very long, light baton. I don’t think that would be a problem.

    But how to turn the pages ?

  • Rosana Martins says:

    How wonderful! If he is going to conduct, he must have found a solution to turning pages. Many artists are using IPad these days.

  • Mathieu says:

    Klemperer in his last years didn’t move much of his arms, and he achieved tremendous results. Besides, a minimalist conductor would be refreshing in our times of gesticulating, jumping-to-the-roof maestros.

    Regarding the page turning issue, I am sure that there are electronic devices allowing to show the score on a screen attached to the conductor’s stand and turning pages automatically as the music goes.

  • Lori kaufman says:

    God, some of you are petty. And unimaginative. And offensive. How do YOU get by in life with YOUR disability (tactless, sociopathic, antipathetic, small-minded…..) If you don’t have anything supportive to say for this great artist, then get off Norman’s good-news platform. And lest you think this is a “social media rant,” why, yes, I will be happy to say the exact same thing to your face.

  • greta berman says:

    wonderful news! And I agree with the various supportive comments!

  • William Safford says:

    When I read this topic, the first question that came to my mind was also: “How will he conduct?”

    Then I reflected on a late friend of mine, whose life was also affected adversely by Thalidomide.

    He rode a motorcycle (how he and I met). He had a good job. He had a wife and children. He accomplished a great deal in life, the effects of the Thalidomide on his body notwithstanding.

    I bet that Quasthoff has figured out an effective and musical way to accomplish the physical task of conducting.

    Even more important is the musicality behind the conducting. Another friend, a retiree from a major U.S. orchestra, told me about working with a well-known musician and occasional pops conductor. My friend opined that this conductor’s stick technique was nothing to write home about. However, my friend also emphasized that the conductor is very musical, and always got across to the orchestra what he wanted from them. The orchestra, in turn, made good music with him.

    We’ll find out how musical a conductor Quasthoff is. I wouldn’t bet against him.

    As for page turning, that can be addressed. Pianists have page turners; why not a conductor? Or there may be a good electronic solution. There is always memorization. He’ll make it work.