Tue, 18 April 2023

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST

Ian Bostridge – A Life in Music

In Conversation With Hannah MacInnes

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Join one of the greatest tenors alive today for a profound and thought-provoking reflection on a life in art and performance.

A fifteen-time Grammy nominee and three-time winner, Ian Bostridge is one of the most renowned opera singers and Lieder interpreters this country has ever produced; and not content with a dazzling career in the highest echelons of music, he is also one of a distinguished man of letters, lecturing at Oxford and Chicago, and writing bestselling books that receive global acclaim.

Like so many performers, Ian spent much of 2020 and 2021 unable to take part in live music. It led him to question an identity previously defined by communicating directly with audiences. This enforced silence allowed Bostridge the opportunity to explore the backstories of some of the many works that he has performed – and question the role of the performer in the creation of art.

He will take us on a journey beneath the surface of the most iconic works he has performed – including those of Monteverdi, Schumann, and Benjamin Britten. What does it mean for audiences when a singer inhabits these roles? And what does a performer’s own identity subtract from or add to the identities inherent in the works themselves?

Join us and discover his answers.

Praise for Ian Bostridge’s Song & Self:

‘Ian Bostridge uniquely combines the gifts of a celebrated tenor with the gifts of a professional historian. The result in these remarkable essays is an exploration of both the emergence of certain powerful musical compositions and the experience of performing them. These “hidden histories”, as Bostridge calls them, at once complicate and intensify our responses to the works of art he so effectively brings to life.’ – Stephen Greenblatt

‘Bostridge’s new book shines a light in the corner of often neglected, fragile beauty, and brings that beauty of relevance to current issues of the world we live in – gender, race, and the universality and humanity of death.’ – Yuja Wang

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Ian Bostridge


Ian Bostridge is universally recognised as one of the greatest Lieder interpreters of today. He has made numerous award-winning recordings of opera and song, and gives recitals regularly throughout Europe, North America and Asia to outstanding critical acclaim. His books include A Singer’s Notebook and the award winning Schubert’s Winter Journey. He was Humanitas Professor of Music at Oxford 2014/15 and has been a regular contributor to newspapers and journals in the UK and US including the Financial Times and the New York Review of Books.

Hannah MacInnes

Presenter, Podcaster and Host of How To Academy’s live programmes.

Hannah MacInnes is a broadcaster and journalist. Alongside hosting How To Academy’s live programmes and podcast, she presents a cultural show on Times Radio and interviews on-stage at a number of other major literary events. She is the host of The Klosters Forum Podcast series and has written for the Radio Times, the Evening Standard and TLS. Before going freelance she worked for 8 years at BBC Newsnight, as Planning Editor and as a Producer / Filmmaker.