Where did it all begin? Why music?
I grew up singing in choirs. I always loved choir singing and that type of repertoire. At some point I simply wanted to test my “soloist-voice”. As I approached university, music was the only thing I could imagine studying and doing with my life.
Was there a big ‘lightbulb’ moment?
Not really – I think my love for music just got bigger and bigger while experiencing it singing in choirs and playing in the school orchestra. (I played bassoon.) However singing, and the vocal repertoire, always felt closer to me than purely instrumental music.
What do you love most about your career?
I think the thing I love the most about my career is meeting all the different people through my travelling and different projects. Working with them, being inspired, never getting into a routine, and being able to choose what I want to do are things I really like!
Most memorable live music experience as an audience member?
That would definitely be the first time I ever heard Schubert’s String Quintet in C major – it was in 2012 in Paris with Valentin Erben playing the second cello. I was blown away by the music and astonished how many similarities there are between vocal and instrumental chamber music!
Last thing you listened to?
It was various recordings of Schumann’s Dichterliebe because I just recorded it as well last week. My CD, with pianist Boris Kusnezow, will be released in September 2018!
First record you ever bought?
It was a Schubert CD with Bryn Terfel and Malcolm Martineau, which is still the recording I listen to the most whenever it comes to Schubert Lieder.
That’s a tough one since there are so many to pick from! I mostly listen to lower male voices when it comes to singers, so they are naturally my heroes. I love Bryn Terfel’s artistry in everything he sings, I also love Dmitri Hvorostovky’s vocal production and technique and am also a huge fan of how Ludovic Tézier sings!
Watch Samuel sings Schumann’s Tragödie, at the 2017 Das Lied International Song Competition, where he won first prize:
Probably Heidelberg, Germany. I’ve had only positive experiences there, know so many nice and generous people from there, and I think it is just the right size for a city.
I love almost all kinds of food, but if I had to pick one type, it would be Korean food! My all time favorite is cucumber kimchi.
Which other talent would you most like to have?
Most things in life can be learned if you just take time for it – talent only takes you so far. However, I would like to have a little more talent when it comes to technological things.
If you were given a time machine, what period or musical event would you travel to and why?
I would have definitely loved to see an early recital of Fischer-Dieskau. I never got to hear him live.
Career plan B?
My second dream would be to open a little restaurant where you can stop by to have lunch. I would offer a selection of drinks, soups, salads, sandwiches, and Korean food. I’d just open the store from 11-3:30.
How do you relax when not working?
I love watching soccer. It is not always really relaxing though – especially if your team isn’t doing well like mine… My favourite club, 1860 München, is currently playing in Germany’s fourth league.