Ian Bostridge


Ian Bostridge's  international recital career takes him to the foremost concert halls of Europe, Japan and North America, with regular appearances at the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg and the Edinburgh, Munich and Aldeburgh festivals.  Opera engagements have included ‘Don Giovanni’ and Adès’s ‘The Tempest’ for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; ‘The Rake's Progress’ in Munich; ‘Semele’ for English National Opera; 'Don Giovanni' for the Vienna State Opera; and Aschenbach ('Death in Venice') for both English National Opera and at the Monnaie, Brussels. The recent Barbican production of 'Curlew River' will tour the USA in autumn 2014.

He has appeared in concert with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Boston Symphony, London Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras and the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, under Sir Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Daniel Barenboim, James Levine, Daniel Harding, Andris Nelsons and Sir Antonio Pappano. His many recordings have won all the major international record prizes and been nominated for 13 Grammys.  He was awarded a CBE in the 2004 New Year's Honours. He will be Humanitas Professor of Classical Music at the University of Oxford 2014/2015. His book 'Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession' will be published by Faber and Faber in the UK and Knopf in the US in January 2015.


This is for information only and should not be reproduced. Please contact
Mary Donald for a full biography and for performance details.

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News & Features



The Tempest: Caliban

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Lysander

Death in Venice: Aschenbach

The Rape of Lucretia: Male Chorus

The Turn of the Screw: Prologue / Quint

Semele: Jupiter

L'incoronazione di Poppea: Nerone

Die Entführung aus dem Serail: Belmonte

Die Zauberflöte: Tamino

Don Giovanni: Don Ottavio

Idomeneo: Idomeneo

The Bartered Bride: Vasek

The Rake's Progress: Tom Rakewell

Please contact Mary Donald for information of Ian Bostridge's song and concert repertoire

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    Curlew River



Hamer Hall, Melbourne

F. S. KELLY: Elegy in memoriam Rupert Brooke 
BRITTEN: War Requiem

Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Tatiana Pavlovskaya, soprano
Ian Bostridge, tenor
Dietrich Henschel, bass-baritone
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus
National Boys Choir of Australia

Further information here

Hamer Hall, Melbourne

F. S. KELLY: Elegy in memoriam Rupert Brooke 
BRITTEN: War Requiem

Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Tatiana Pavlovskaya, soprano
Ian Bostridge, tenor
Dietrich Henschel, bass-baritone
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus
National Boys Choir of Australia

Further information here

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Ian Bostridge / Faber & Faber

Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession
by Ian Bostridge
(Faber & Faber / publication date: 1 January 2015)

Schubert's Winterreise is one of the most powerful and one of the most enigmatic masterpieces in Western culture. In his new book, Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession, Ian Bostridge - one of the work's finest interpreters - focusses on the context, resonance and personal significance of the work. Drawing on his vast experience of performing Winterreise, on his musical knowledge and on his training as a scholar, Ian Bostridge unpicks the enigmas and subtle meaning of each of the 24 songs to explore the world Schubert inhabited, bringing the work and its world alive for connoisseurs and new listeners alike.

Radio Open Source podcast interview: A winter Journey with Ian Bostridge

“A magnificent study of one of the most influential and simultaneously mysterious musical works of the Romantic period. And there’s no one better to crack it open than Bostridge, who knows its wormholes better than anyone.” 
Jessica Ferri, The Daily Beast, 11 March 2015

"A new book promises to deepen the understanding of the legions of “Winterreise” devotees, while offering encouragement to interested music lovers who have had difficulty following the lieder. The tenor Ian Bostridge, a leading interpreter of “Winterreise,” has written a cross between an idiosyncratic guide to the song cycle and a freewheeling meditation on it, “Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession,” which he says at the outset aims “to explain, to justify, to contextualize and embroider.” ... Mr. Bostridge, something of a polymath, draws on his deep reading and his long experience singing the cycle to explore Schubert’s world, the roots of the songs and how they have been received since they were written."

Michael Cooper, New York Times, 18 February 2015

"His beautifully produced book offers many new insights that will inform the enjoyment of both old admirers and newcomers to the music. ...  Mr Bostridge is a good storyteller and keeps the reader in constant suspense."

The Economist, 17 January 2015

"Bostridge’s highly enjoyable book provides a rewarding, intelligently written companion to the piece for those who know it well, as well as for those who are approaching it for the first time." 

Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times, 4 January 2015

"Winterreise, Bostridge argues, is “a message in a bottle set afloat in the cultural ocean of 1828” and, with the confidence of a master oarsman, Bostridge sails these waters with awesome virtuosity."
Neil Fisher, The Times, 3 January 2015

"In the book, he inhabits not only the work, but the man. And — his most important achievement in writing it — it sends you scurrying back to the music."
Dan Cairns, The Sunday Times, 28 December 2014

“Illuminating and comprehensive . . . rich, highly readable.”
Kirkus Reviews / November 2014 issue

"an impressive success: a long-gestated, intensely enjoyable study of Schubert's Winterreise"
Literary Review / Rupert Christiansen / December 2014

A Singer's Notebook by Ian Bostridge (published Faber & Faber, October 2011) was voted as a "Book of the Year" in both the Independent and the Financial Times

"revelatory ... this sparkling collection"  The Sunday Times

Adam Lively / Sunday Times / 2 October 2011

"these are the thoughts of a profoundly engaged artist ... provocative, astringent, capable of arresting insights"
Michael Church / The Independent / 30 September 2011

"impressively omnivorish"   The Sunday Telegraph

"weaving together ... an enormously wide culture with acutely observed physical sensations" The Daily Telegraph

"a consistently lively, learned, urbane and passionate book, once opened not likely to be closed until you have read it all"
Michael Tanner / BBC Music Magazine / October 2011

"enjoyable and illuminating" 
Rupert Christiansen / Sight & Sound / October 2011

"informative and thoughtful"
Robin Holloway / The Guardian / 7 October 2011

My Summer Reading: Tenor Ian Bostridge
Hilary Whitney interviews Ian Bostridge ahead of the publication of A Singer's Notebook, a collection of reviews and essays by Bostridge (September 2011, Faber and Faber)   

Click here to read the article, The Arts Desk / 23 August 2011

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Over the last decade, Ian Bostridge, has been invited to give residencies both in Europe and in North America.

In 2003/2004 Ian Bostridge held artistic residencies at the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, in 2004/2005 he shared a Carte-Blanche series with Thomas Quasthoff at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, in 2005/2006 he had his own Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall, in 2008 at the Barbican, London, in 2010/2011 in Luxembourg, in 2011/2012  at London's Wigmore Hall, entitled The Bostridge Project: Ancient & Modern.

During the 2012/2013 season Ian had a Britten-based residency at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg with the following outlined programme:


Iestyn Davies (Countertenor), Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Simon Keenlyside (Baritone), Stefan Dohr (Horn), Maria Tsaytler (Harp), Julius Drake (Piano)

Songs and Proverbs of William Blake op. 74
Canticle I op. 40 "My beloved is mine"
Canticle II op. 51 "Abraham and Isaac"
Canticle III op. 55 "Still Falls the Rain"
Canticle IV op. 86 "Journey of the Magi"
Canticle V op. 89 "The Death of Saint Narcissus"


Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Elizabeth Kenny (Lute), Julius Drake (Piano)

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne and works by John Dowland


Ensemble Resonanz, Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Stefan Dohr -(Horn),

Britten: Prelude and Fugue op. 29
Bach: Cantata:  "Ich habe genug"
Britten: Serenade op. 31 for Tenor, Horn and Strings

At the start of the 2013/14 season, Ian had a mini-residency at Carnegie Hall, New York as part of the Britten centenary celebrations.

To read reviews from Ian's previous residencies please click Ian Bostridge Reviews - Residencies 

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Les Illuminations

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding, Berwaldhallen, Stockholm

"To call yourself an amateur, as one of the world’s foremost lieder-singers, is modest in an almost parodically British way. But Ian Bostridge does, according to conductor Daniel Harding. The reason is that Bostridge does not have a formal music education. However, he is a trained historian, with a doctorate about witchcraft from Oxford University under his belt. 
These dual roles were manifested vivaciously at Berwaldhallen yesterday evening. His confident, beautiful tenor and detailed articulation of Benjamin Britten’s song cycle Les Illuminations, created exactly the kind of desperate, or angry, invocation that characterizes this early work from 1939. Bostridge has, as he has shown in his subtle interpretations of Schubert, a rare ability to give body to the lyrics he sings, which he exhibited last night as well. 
After the Radio Symphony Orchestra played Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, a work containing several musical illustrations of witchcraft (the music can be heard in the film The Shining among others), Bostridge held a talk about the French society’s view of witches during the eighteenth century, the time when the belief in witches and witchcraft slowly, but slower that one might think in this rational era, petered out. The Berlioz symphony only came to be a couple of decades after the French government had basically issued a statute hindering witchcraft prosecutions and convictions. 
A world-class singer, who after a concert can present a sterling history of ideas, as a backdrop to what has just been performed, may not be unique, but certainly spellbinding."
Claes Wahlin, Aftonbladet, 20 March 2015



Thomas Ades, Barbican Centre, London

"This was without doubt the most extraordinary, riveting, uncanny performance of Schubert’s great song-cycle Winterreise I have ever witnessed."
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 13 January 2015
".. for any artist the live re-creation of this psychologically dark masterpiece is the real challenge, and in this Barbican performance, in which Bostridge shared the platform with pianist Thomas Adès, the two offered something unusually detailed and concentrated. If sharp definition is generally a mark of Bostridge’s interpretations, then this work in particular suits him down to the ground."
George Hall, The Guardian, 13 January 2015
"Vienna’s verdant springs and pitiless winters framed the action, with the protagonist’s encroaching delusions driving him on: what riveted us was not so much Bostridge’s beauty of tone as the emotional truth of every line, underscored as it was by Ades’s refined pianism. Unforgettable."
Michael Church, The Independent, 13 January 2015

RECITAL, 5 January 2015

Teatro alla Scala, Milan / Ian Bostridge & Thomas Adés

"His musicianship is outstanding. He has a myriad of ways of approaching and sustaining each note, and searches out and reveals every colour and nuance in his beautiful voice. He maximises the effect of the words: he caresses them, teases them and occasionally spits them out accompanied by a blue-eyed venomous stare. In doing so he even risks interrup­ing the vocal line, but nothing gets past him and he makes the most of everything the composer provides him with....
In his Schubert, Liszt and Schumann programme, culminating in the Dichterliebe, he was accompanied by Thomas Adès who gave an extraordinary symphonic rendering of each piece. Schubert, especially, shone anew with his warm and broad palette of colours. It is rare to hear such an intense collaboration between singer and pianist where a ‘solo’ recital is experienced as a duet for two instruments. Gramilano.com / 6 January 2015
"Bostridge è un grande cantante e un grande artista. Dimostra due verità spesso negate: la prima, che non esiste solo una tecnica vocale, ma molte; la seconda, che il canto è un mezzo espressivo, non un fine in sé.  Questa voce ingrata si rivela camaleontica, si trasforma, aggredisce le parole e dà, a ognuna, un colore, un peso e un significato diversi. E poi anche per cantare essere musicista aiuta. Per esempio, è eccezionale il senso del ritmo e la capacità di variarlo nei Lieder strofici: ascoltare per credereUnd wüssten’s die Blumen di Schumann, un gioiello. Infine, la sensibilità. Molti di questi brani sono strazianti non per quel che dicono, ma per quel che fanno intuire. Ma qui tutto dipende dall’interprete: e allora perfino Das Fischermädchen diventa sottilmente inquietante, come se Schiele avesse ridipinto un quadretto Biedermeier, mentre tutta la Dichterleibe comunica un senso di lucida desolazione davvero insolito. Merito anche di Thomas Adès, che è forse il maggior operista del nostro tempo ma certamente un accompagnatore eccezionale. Per tutto il concerto, il suo pianoforte non ha quasi mai superato il mezzoforte, ma da lì al pianissimo ha trovato una serie infinita di sfumature. Gran successo e tre bis. Corriere della Sera.it, Alberto Mattioli, 7 January 2015
"Tanti Lieder per il mago Ian"
To read the interview please click the link below
La Repubblica, Luigi di Fronzo, 5 January 2015
"A Milano, solo in palcoscenico, ha confermato il talento che lo rende magnetico, e stella in un repertorio che va da Bach a Britten.
 Con oculatezza Bostridge sceglie: seleziona i compagni di viaggio (e in Adès usciva non solo il pianista, ma uno straordinario suggeritore di idee musicali), impagina programmi mirati. Quello della Scala comprendeva pagine di Schubert, Liszt e Schumann, legate tra loro dalle poesie di Heinrich Heine. Uno stralcio dallo Schwanengesang, Canto del cigno, e peccato non averlo tutto, un pizzico di Liszt, molto pianistico, e poi Schumann, con i Dichterliebe inanellati in unica campata. Il tenore li cuce l'uno con l'altro, quasi senza pause; ne esalta i caratteri contrastanti, la variabilità del canto, la sonorità della parola: ora rapidissima, affannoso scioglilingua, ora distesa, confidenziale. La voce fa teatro. Ma lo fa anche il corpo, senza bisogno di esteriorità, senza gigionerie. Ogni gesto corrisponde a un'intenzione espressiva profonda: ora Bostridge sta appoggiato al pianoforte, come fosse un muro protettivo, ora avanza di qualche passo, disarmato in cerca di aiuto verso la sala, ora si gira di spalle e il suo metro e novanta di altezza sembra voler sparire, rattrappito, chiuso a uovo. Meraviglioso, anche nello Ständchen finale, ultimo dei tre bis, franto in piccoli rintocchi, come probabilmente avrebbe amato Schubert." 
Il Sole 24 hore, Carla Moreni, 11 gennaio 2015


Winterreise, 12 December 2014

Thomas Adès, piano / Laeiszhalle, Hamburg

To read the full review, please click the link below Spiegel Online, 12 December 2014


Curlew River

UNC Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

"We are in the presence of greatness. In the all-British cast (except for the boy treble who hails from California), we have legendary tenor Ian Bostridge, who delivered tonight a goose-bumping performance for the ages, which is likely to be the highlight of my 2014-2015 season.
Mr. Bostridge is a slim man who looked diminutive on stage, until he opened his mouth. His voice is much more powerful than his figure indicates, and he possesses the agility and range required by this difficult vocal score. Acting is another one of his strengths, and he was thoroughly convincing as the Madwoman, with perfect rendition of her pain and despair."
Luiz Gazzola, Opera Lively, 8th November 2014


Curlew River

Synod House, Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York

"the British tenor Ian Bostridge gave a courageously vulnerable performance of the Madwoman" ...  "in his haunted eyes and through the aching beauty of his ethereal yet muscular singing, he utterly conveys the character of the unhinged mother."
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 31 October 2014
" Mr. Bostridge’s ... plangent, haunting tenor brought an androgynous, Everyman character to the Madwoman’s extravagant anguish." Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson, 3 November 2014
Bostridge intense and compelling in Britten’s unnerving “Curlew River” New York Classical Review, George Grella, 30 October 2014

The Schubert Project: which are his best songs?

Ahead of the Oxford Lieder Festival, Ian Bostridge is one of several artists to tell Neil Fisher for The Times which is his favourite Schubert song and why

Der zürnenden Diana (The wrathful Diana) 

There’s a whole debate about Schubert — what was his sexuality, was he gay? — and this song is a very sexy, thrusting song in a very unusual way, different from any of the Schubert songs I can think of. It’s about Actaeon singing to Diana, who is naked with her nymphs.

Actaeon is the narrator of the song — he sees Diana, gets very excited then his death is very obviously a metaphor as she conquers him: “the arrow strikes me” and “gently warm waves flow from the wound”. The song was dedicated to Katherina von Laczny, whom Schubert was very keen on — a notoriously free-thinking, free-loving woman.

The poem was written by Johann Mayrhofer; he and Schubert were very close and Schubert set more poems by him than anyone else. He became a censor in Vienna and felt so repressed by the political system that he committed suicide in 1836 by throwing himself out of his office window.

To read the full article, please click on the link below
Neil Fisher, The Times, 10th October 2014


Recital, 15 September 2014

Julius Drake, piano / Wigmore Hall

"Here was profound intensity, but contained as eloquence rather than indulged as expressionism. And what a formidable — joyous! — reciprocity these artists have achieved: a telepathy leaving nothing to be said, just as the twin sequences (each unbroken by applause) on the subject of longing, beginning with the exquisite, brief Das Heimweh (Homesickness) and ending with a sunset glow (Im Abendrot), in their introspective way said everything." The Sunday Times, Paul Driver, 21 September 2014


Recital, 28 August 2014

Schubertiade Schwarzenberg /Julius Drake

"British lyric tenor Ian Bostridge is widely considered one of the great interpreters of the art song. When he recently took his position on stage at the Schubertiade − joined by the superb pianist, Julius Drake − the audience tingled with anticipation." Bachtrack, Sarah Batschelet, 30 August 2014


Recital: 9 July 2014

Ian Bostridge/Sophie Daneman/Julius Drake, Middle Temple Hall

"Soprano and tenor showed a rare emotional agility in this Schumann recital"
Hannah Nepil, Financial Times, 10 July 2014


Winterreise: 22 June 2014

Thomas Ades, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Aldeburgh

"At 49, Ian Bostridge is hardly an old man but he brings maturity, intelligence and a deep level of understanding to the work. This performance, alongside accompanist Thomas Adès (former artistic director at Aldeburgh), looked set to be one of the golden tickets at this year’s festival. And so it proved."
Laura Battle, Financial Times, 24 June 2014

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten

Ian Bostridge writes in The Guardian

The greatness of Benjamin Britten's music is only now coming into focus
The composer, born 100 years ago, wrote music of ravishing beauty and scorching relevance, says one exponent of his work...

Follow the link below to read the full article:
Ian Bostridge, The Guardian, Thursday 21 November 2013




Die schöne Müllerin

Ian Bostridge 
with Mitsuko Uchida, Leif Ove Andsnes and Antonio Pappano

A three-disc box set released in January 2015
Warner Classics

BRITTEN War Requiem

Recorded to mark Britten's centenary year by Anna Netrebko, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Hampson and Antonio Pappano with the Orchestra, Coro e Voci Bianche dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Warner Classics


Schwanengesang and other Lieder
piano: Antonio Pappano


A Midsummer Night's Dream (Flute) 
London Symphony Orchestra / Colin Davis



Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle
Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
Les Illuminations



The Red Cockatoo
Holy Sonnets of John Donne and other songs
piano: Graham Johnson