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About Stephan Genz

Baritone Stephan Genz emerged from relative obscurity in the mid-'90s all the way to international stardom by the early 2000s. Indeed, his London debut at Wigmore Hall in 1997 and American debut three years later at New York's Frick Collection, along with the positive notice he received from several recordings in the late '90s, elevated him to front-rank status. He is primarily known for his lieder interpretations, particularly the lieder of Richard Strauss, Wolf, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Mahler. But Genz often performs on the operatic stage, giving regular appearances at La Scala, Opera Bastille, L'Opera National du Rhin (Strasbourg), Opera de Lausanne, and elsewhere. He has sung a variety of roles, including Papageno from Mozart's Die Zauberflote, Fritz (Korngold's Die tote Stadt), Olivier (Strauss' Capriccio), and many more. Genz has made over twenty recordings, spread over several labels, including Hyperion, DG, Harmonia Mundi, Forlane, Arthaus Musik, and EuroArts. Genz's voice has been described as buoyant and light, strong in the higher notes, less so in the lower ranges.

Stephan Genz was born in Erfurt, Germany, in 1973. He received his early training in Leipzig, first as a member of the St. Thomas Boys' Choir and then, from age 15, as a student at the Hochschule für Music und Theater, where his most important teacher was Hans-Joachim Beyer. Later studies were at the Karlsruhe State Hochschule für Musik, where he trained with Mitsuko Shirai. He would also take instruction from Elizabeth Schwartzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Genz captured high prizes in several competitions in the 1990s, including the 1994 Johannes Brahms Competition (Hamburg) and Hugo Wolf Competition (Stuttgart). In 1997 Genz's aforementioned London debut drew lavish accolades from the British media.

Genz's earliest recordings were issued on the U.K.-based Hyperion label and include a 1998 CD of Wolf's "Eichendorff Lieder" and a 1999 disc of Beethoven songs, both with pianist Roger Vignoles. Genz's 2002 concert tour of the U.S. and Canada brought further renown for his insightful lieder interpretations. That same year he scored another success when he appeared at the Hamburg Opera in the role of Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte.

Genz has often performed and recorded with his brother Christoph, a tenor. Together they recorded a disc of Mozart arias and duets for Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, released in 2004. Among Genz's recordings is a 2008 Hyperion CD of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn. ~ Robert Cummings