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Ian Bostridge CBE (born 25 December 1964) is an acclaimed English tenor, well known for his performances as an opera singer and as a song recitalist.[1]



Born in London, Bostridge studied at Dulwich College Preparatory School and Westminster School, where he was a Queen's Scholar, then attended the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where he read modern history and received an M.Phil in the history and philosophy of science. He received his D.Phil from Oxford in 1990, on the significance of witchcraft in English public life from 1650 to 1750, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, before embarking on a career as a singer. His book "Witchcraft and its Transformations 1650 to 1750" was published as an Oxford Historical Monograph in 1997. This has been an influential work in the study of the pre-Enlightenment, "achieving that rarest of feats in the scholarly world: taking a well-worn subject and ensuring that it will never be looked at in quite the same way again" (Noel Malcolm, TLS)[2]. In 1991 he won the National Federation of Music Societies Award and from 1992 received support from the Young Concert Artists Trust.


Bostridge made his Wigmore Hall debut in 1993; his Purcell Room debut (an acclaimed Winterreise) and his Aldeburgh Festival debut in 1994; in 1995 he gave his first solo recital in the Wigmore Hall (winning the Royal Philharmonic Society's Debut Award); in 1996 he gave recitals in Lyon, Cologne, London and at the Aldeburgh, Cheltenham and Edinburgh Festivals, and in 1997 at the Alte Oper, Frankfurt.

On the concert platform he has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis and Mstislav Rostropovich, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Sir Charles Mackerras, and the City of Birmingham Symphony under Sir Simon Rattle.

His first solo-featured recording was for Hyperion Records, a Britten song recital, The Red Cockatoo with Graham Johnson. His subsequent recording of Die schöne Müllerin in Hyperion's Schubert Edition won the Gramophone's Solo Vocal Award for 1996; he won the prize again in 1998 for a recording of Schumann Lieder with his regular collaborator, the pianist Julius Drake. An EMI Classics exclusive artist since 1996, he is a eleven-time Grammy nominee. His CDs have won most of the major record prizes including Grammy, Edison, Japanese Recording Academy, Brit, Echo Klassik and Deutsche Schallplattenpreis.

Bostridge made his operatic debut in 1994, aged 29, as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Australian Opera at the Edinburgh Festival, directed by Baz Luhrmann. In 1996 made his acclaimed debut with the English National Opera, singing his first Tamino (The Magic Flute). In 1997 he sang Quint in Deborah Warner's new production of The Turn of the Screw under Sir Colin Davis for the Royal Opera. He has recorded Flute (Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream) with Sir Colin Davis for Philips Classics; Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) with William Christie for Erato; Tom Rakewell (The Rake's Progress) under John Eliot Gardiner for Deutsche Grammophon (Grammy Award); and Captain Vere (Billy Budd) with Daniel Harding. In 2007 he appeared at the ENO in the role of Aschenbach in Britten's Death in Venice, in a production by Deborah Warner.

In 1997 he made a film of Schubert's Winterreise for Channel 4 directed by David Alden[3]; he has been the subject of a South Bank Show profile documentary on ITV[4] and presented a BBC4 film on Leoš Janáček.[5] He has written on music for The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, Opernwelt, BBC Music Magazine, Opera Now and the The Independent.

Later engagements included recitals in Paris, Stockholm, Lisbon, Brussels, Amsterdam and the Vienna Konzerthaus. In North America he appeared in recitals in New York City at the Frick Collection in 1998 and Alice Tully Hall in 1999 and made his Carnegie Hall debut under Sir Neville Marriner. Also in 1998 he sang Vasek in a new production of The Bartered Bride under Bernard Haitink for the Royal Opera and made his debut at the Munich Festival as Nerone (L'incoronazione di Poppea) and in recital (Winterreise at the Cuvillés Theatre). In 1999 he made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Roger Norrington. He works regularly with the pianists Julius Drake, Mitsuko Uchida and Covent Garden music director Antonio Pappano.

In summer 2000, Bostridge gave the fifth annual Edinburgh University Festival Lecture (previous lecturers included George Steiner, Pierre Boulez and Alfred Brendel) entitled "Music and Magic".

In 2004, Bostridge was made CBE for his services to music. His brother is the Whitbread-shortlisted biographer and critic Mark Bostridge, whose book "Florence Nightingale: the woman and her legend" was published in the UK in 2008. They are great-grandchildren of John "Tiny" Joyce, a cousin of James Joyce and famous goalkeeper who played for Tottenham Hotspur before the First World War.[1].

On 11 November 2009 Bostridge sang Agnus Dei from Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, at the Armistice Day service in Westminster Abbey. This uses the words of war poet Wilfred Owen's "At a Calvary Near the Ancre". This Service marks the loss of the WWI generation, whose last members died earlier the same year.

Bostridge is now the music columnist for Standpoint magazine, the new monthly publication launched "to celebrate Western civilisation". He also serves on the magazine's advisory board. A collection of his writings on music will be published by Faber and Faber in Autumn 2010.

Bostridge is married to the writer and literary critic, Dr Lucasta Miller, author of the classic study published in 2001, "The Brontë Myth". They have a son and a daughter.


  • Adès: The Tempest with Thomas Adès (EMI Classics, 2009)
  • Schubert: Schwanengesang with Antonio Pappano (EMI Classics, 2009)
  • Schubert: The Wanderer: Lieder and Fragments with Leif Ove Andsnes (EMI Classics, 2008)
  • Great Handel with Harry Bickett (EMI Classics, 2007)
  • Schubert: Lieder and Sonata with Leif Ove Andsnes (EMI Classics, 2007)
  • Wolf: Lieder with Antonio Pappano (EMI Classics, 2006)
  • Britten: Les Illuminations, Serenade, Nocturne with Simon Rattle (EMI Classics, 2005)
  • Schubert: 25 Lieder with Julius Drake (EMI Classics, 2005)
  • Wagner: Tristan und Isolde with Antonio Pappano (EMI Classics, 2005)
  • Schubert: die Schöne Müllerin with Mitsuko Uchida (EMI Classics, 2005)
  • Schubert: Lieder and Sonata No.21 with Leif Ove Andsnes (EMI Classics, 2005)
  • Schubert: Winterreise with Leif Ove Andsnes (EMI Classics, 2004)
  • Monteverdi: Orfeo with Emmanuelle Haïm (Virgin Classics, 2004)
  • Purcell: Dido and Aeneas with Emmanuelle Haïm (Virgin Classics, 2003)
  • Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge with Bernard Haitink (EMI Classics, 2003)
  • Schubert: Lieder and Sonata D850 with Leif Ove Andsnes (EMI Classics, 2003)
  • Mozart: Idomeneo with Charles Mackerras (EMI Classics, 2002)
  • Britten : Canticles & Folksongs with Julius Drake (Virgin Classics, 2002)
  • Britten : Turn of the Screw with Daniel Harding (Virgin Classics, 2002)
  • The Songs of Robert Schumann, Vol.7 with Dorothea Röschmann and Graham Johnson (Hyperion, 2002)
  • The Noël Coward Songbook with Jeffrey Tate (EMI Classics, 2002)
  • Schubert: Lieder volume II with Julius Drake (EMI Classics, 2001)
  • Henze: Songs with Julius Drake (EMI Classics, 2001)
  • Bach: Cantatas and Arias with Fabio Biondi (Virgin Classics, 2000)
  • Handel: L'allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato with John Nelson (Virgin Classics, 2000)
  • The English Songbook with Julius Drake (EMI Classics, 1999)
  • Schumann: Liederkreis & Dichterliebe etc. with Julius Drake (EMI Classics, 1998)
  • Schubert: Lieder volume I with Julius Drake (EMI Classics, 1998)
  • Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin (Schubert Edition, Vol.25) with Graham Johnson and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Hyperion, 1996)
  • Britten: The Red Cockatoo & Other Songs with Graham Johnson (Hyperion, 1995)
  • Nyman: Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs with Dominique Debart (Argo, 1995)
  • Bach: St. Matthew Passion (Evangelist) with Philippe Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi, 1999)


External links



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