Becoming a Lied Singer: Thomas Quasthoff and the Art of German Song

Becoming a Lied Singer: Thomas Quasthoff and the Art of German Song


Lieder are some of the most beautiful and heart-tugging songs ever written, poetry set to music by such masters as Schubert and Brahms. From the domestic drawing rooms of the 19th century to the concert halls of the 21st, “These are the songs in which the German romantic soul bloomed,” says Thomas Quasthoff.

The acclaimed but now retired Lied singer is a jolly host, cutting through the melancholy, as he gives masterclasses to fresh blood and presides over the international song competition Das Lied. If you’re not completely entranced by his potted history and performance snatches, wait for Bryan Brenner, who’s translated the Lieder into English and for classical guitar.


Drawing on his multiple roles as maestro, teacher and founder of the Das Lied International singing competition, Thomas Quasthoff takes audiences on a personal journey into this short, but intensely expressive art form. He focuses on Franz Schubert as the first great Lieder writer, and in Hamburg delves into the life and work of Johannes Brahms, a composer he feels a great empathy with. The programme includes rare archive footage of Thomas performing with pianist András Schiff in 2003 (prior to his retirement from the classical stage), as well as a newly restored telerecording of Thomas's Lied singing hero, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Thomas Quasthoff
Director Andy King-Dabbs
Executive Producer Mark Cooper
Producer Andy King-Dabbs