The Hampsong Foundation

Founded in 2003 by American baritone Thomas Hampson, the Hampsong Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which creates platforms to support and proliferate the art of classic song—poetry set to music—from around the world as a means to enhance communication and understanding among cultures.

We share our findings with the public—and especially students and educators—through workshops, master classes, recordings, performances—and above all—new media. Through this website, HampsongFoundation.org, and its sister website, SongofAmerica.net, we provide rich interactive resources and meeting places for educators, students, singers, and lovers of song.

For a more detailed description of the projects that we have undertaken since our founding, please visit The Hampsong Foundation: Brief History and Timeline below.

To find out how you can support the Hampsong Foundation with a tax-deductible donation, click here.

The Song Projects

Song Projects are the heartbeat of Hampsong. The Projects explore the connections between poetry and music, history and culture, research and performance, society and song. Through this work, the Foundation seeks to deepen our understanding of song as the most personal and natural form of human expression, vital for communication in our lives today.

The Song of America Project

For more about the Song of America project, please visit our sister website: http://www.songofamerica.net

Learn more about Thomas Hampson's passion for classic song:

"Baritone Hampson revels in joining poem and music"

Boston Globe article from April 23, 2015

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A World of Song: Introducing the Resources of the Hampsong Foundation"

Article by Thomas Hampson in the Journal of Singing, Vol. 69, No. 4 (March/April 2013)

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The Hampsong Foundation: Brief History & Timeline


  • The Hampsong Foundation collaborates with the Internationale Hugo-Wolf-Akademie on the Singing Justice: Decentering Whiteness in Vocal Music Symposium in November in Stuttgart. This symposium featured the research and performance work of the Singing Justice interdisciplinary research group, which began in 2021.


  • The Hampsong Foundation, in collaboration with the Elbphilharmonie, curates the Song of America: A Celebration of Black Music Festival (May-June 2021). This endeavor presented the music of Black American composers and composers of the African Diaspora at the Elbphilharmonie in three concerts. Guest curators included Dr. Louise Toppin (University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance) and performers included Lawrence Brownlee, Leah Hawkins, Justin Austin, and Ema Nikolovska, in addition to Thomas Hampson and Dr. Toppin.
  • The Hampsong Foundation’s partnership with the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre and Dance pursues the following projects:
    • “Singing Justice: Restoring the African American Voice in Song” Humanities Collaboratory research group
    • The Black Composer Speaks recording project
    • Singing Down the Barriers Adult Summer Institute
    • “Sing My Song” educational initiative with Corner Health and The School at Marygrove
    • “The Savvy Singer” course
  • Thomas Hampson and Dr. Susan Youens lead the 92Y online course Schubert’s Lieder: An Introduction with Thomas Hampson and Susan Youens.


  • The Hampsong Foundation begins an official partnership with the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance (June). The partnership is called the Classic Song Research Initiative and launches with the Facebook Live conversation series “The Art of Democracy.”
    • Through the Classic Song Research Initiative, students and faculty of the University of Michigan became involved in Hampsong Foundation research and projects; for example, students began working with the Hampsong Foundation to submit information to the Song of America database.


  • Schubert Week at the Boulez Saal (Berlin) is launched. This annual January week is dedicated to the songs of Franz Schubert by featuring daily concerts, workshops, and conversations; it is curated by Thomas Hampson.


  • The Hampsong Foundation releases a new version of its Song of America database. This current version of the database is more visually appealing, easier to navigate, and more compatible with smartphones and tablets.
  • Thomas Hampson launches Song of America: Beyond Liberty at the Glimmerglass Festival. This one-man show, and his third Song of America touring performance, is staged by Francesca Zambello and created in collaboration with Royce Vavrek.
  • Lied als Spiegel seiner Zeit (the 10-program German translation of Song: Mirror of the World) is broadcast via SWR2 in Germany.
  • Song of America Educator workshops continue, in collaboration with Carnegie Hall (February) and the Fenimore Art Museum (August).
  • Songs from Chicago debuts in summer 2018; this recording is supported by the Hampsong Foundation, and proceeds derived from the sale of this album go directly back to the Hampsong Foundation.


  • The Hampsong Foundation launches a new version of it’s flagship website, http://hampsongfoundation.org.
  • In support of the African American Art Song Alliance, the Hampsong Foundation sponsors live video streaming from the Alliance’s 20th Anniversary Celebration (Feb. 2017); the video is archived on the Hampsong Foundation’s Vimeo channel, as well as the Song of America database.
  • Through Facebook Live, the Heidelberger Frühling song master classes reach approximately 240,000 viewers worldwide (via their News Feed), with almost 60,000 live views.
  • A total of 15 lesson plans for grades K-12 (and a variety of subjects), and developed with working teachers, are published on the Song of America database. These lesson plans are available free of charge.
  • 2017 saw the launch of the Thomas Hampson / Hampsong Foundation “Master Classes with Thomas Hampson” Channel, featuring high definition master classes with Thomas Hampson from Manhattan School of Music and the Heidelberg Lied Academy.
  • Thomas Hampson’s album of French songs, Serenade, was released in September 2017 on the Pentatone label. This album was financed through the Hampsong Foundation and is an important survey of melodies françaises for singers, scholars, and music-lovers.


  • The Song of America Curriculum Initiative continues, with educator workshops in New York City and California, a new section for educators on the Song of America website, and expanded online resources, including lesson plans, worksheets, and other downloads.
  • The 13-program radio series Song: Mirror of the World is available for streaming, free of charge, on the Hampsong Foundation website.
  • Several master classes are live-streamed from the Heidelberg Lied Academy, and the Hampsong Foundation begins collaborating with Medici.tv.


  • The Hampsong Foundation launches its Song of America Curriculum Initiative with an educator workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a special media event in Chicago, Illinois. The Foundation becomes the first non-profit organization to own a LOLA (Low Latency) Node for point-to-point distance learning events.
  • The WFMT Radio Network releases the Hampsong Foundation’s 13-program radio series Song: Mirror of the World to hundreds of participating radio stations nationwide.
  • The Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation project expands with the feature Singers on Singing: A Performer’s Perspective.


  • The 13-program radio series Song: Mirror of the World is the major focus of this year for the Hampsong Foundation, and the Foundation completes a successful crowd-funding campaign through IndieGogo.
  • The Foundation funds the recording Notturno: Songs by Richard Strauss and launches the educational web feature Richard Strauss: A Life Never Without Song in honor of composer Richard Strauss’s 150th birthday.
  • Joining forces with the Star Spangled Music Foundation, Thomas Hampson and the Hampsong Foundation celebrate the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner”; Hampson visits the NEH-funded Banner Moments Teacher Institute and performs the recital “Poets and Patriotism: The 200th Birthday of the Star-Spangled Banner” at the Library of Congress .


  • Beginning in February of 2013, the Hampsong Foundation makes individual programs of the Song of America radio series available for free online streaming on the website of the Hampsong Foundation.
  • On April 1, Christie Finn is named Managing Director, the Foundation’s first official employee and a testament to the Foundation’s growth and visibility.
  • The Foundation launches the American Song Initiative, with the first award going to the Florestan Recital Project for their project Early Songs of Samuel Barber, as well as its collaboration with the Society for American Music on the Hampsong Education Fellowship in American Song.
  • The Hampsong Foundation begins its next major project, the 13-program radio series Song: Mirror of the World.



  • In October of 2011, the Song of America radio series begins airing on WFMT Chicago. Since then, the series has been heard on hundreds of radio stations in America, as well as dozens abroad.
  • As the Gustav Mahler Centennial continues, the Hampsong Foundation funds a new recording of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Thomas Hampson and the Wiener Virtuosen, as well as the English translation of Dr. Jens Malte Fischer’s new biography of Mahler.


  • Under the artistic direction of Thomas Hampson and in collaboration with the WFMT Radio Network, the Hampsong Foundation creates and funds the Song of America radio series.
  • The Foundation begins its celebration of the Gustav Mahler Centennial through various projects, all of which are now hosted on the website of the Hampsong Foundation.


  • In fall of 2009, the Hampsong Foundation launches the Song of America database, located at http://www.songofamerica.net. The database, conceived to celebrate 250 years of American song, has grown steadily since 2009 and now hosts hundreds of biographical entries on American composers and writers, and more than a thousand songs.
  • In November of 2009, the American Musicological Society Thomas Hampson Fund is established, with funding from the Hampsong Foundation, to annually foster editions and scholarship on classic song in all its contexts as well as new and innovative technologies for promoting and understanding classic song via interactive media and the Internet.


  • In collaboration with MusicFest Northwest, the Hampsong Foundation establishes the Sister Marietta Coyle Award to support young singers.
  • The Foundation commissions another work from Richard Danielpour and begins preparing for the 2009 Song of America project.


  • The Hampsong Foundation commissions a new work from internationally-acclaimed American composer Richard Danielpour.
  • Thomas Hampson and the Hampsong Foundation launch an annual collaboration with the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, annually co-producing master classes, symposiums, and concerts. In 2006, these events specifically commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Des Knaben Wunderhorn.


  • The Hampsong Foundation achieves 501(c)(3) non-profit status and is recognized by the IRS.
  • Mr. Hampson publishes a new version of his personal website, which includes a large section dedicated to the Hampsong Foundation and includes his scholarly essays, song texts and personal translations of those texts, as well as other materials contributing to the visitor’s experience of classic song in a larger cultural context.
  • The Hampsong Foundation receives major financial support from the Elinor Remick Warren Foundation, as well as private donors.
  • In the fall of 2005, Thomas Hampson begins his Song of America recital tour in collaboration with the Library of Congress and the Hampsong Foundation (the tour is completed in June 2006).


  • The Hampsong Foundation again collaborates with the Salzburg Festival, this time on the project Antonín Dvorák und Seine Zeit. The other artists involved include Barbara Bonney, Michelle Breedt, Georg Zeppenfeld, and Wolfram Rieger.


  • Thomas Hampson founds the Hampsong Foundation because of his passion for the extraordinary communicative power of classic song. He names the Foundation on a pun of his last name, and the Foundation’s activities begin as an extension of his own personal artistic research, scholarly endeavors, and performances. The Foundation’s first project is the Hugo Wolf und Seine Zeit, in conjunction with the Salzburg Festival and in collaboration with Barbara Bonney, Angelika Kirchschlager, Michael Schade, Georg Zeppenfeld, and Wolfram Rieger.