Let’s All Fall in Love with Thomas Quasthoff

Is everyone aware of Thomas Quasthoff? The German bass-baritone? I just watched this video and teared up a little. Quasthoff was born in Germany in 1959 during a time when mothers were given a drug called Thalidomide, which was supposed to treat morning sickness. The drug resulted in causing birth defects in more than 10,000 children, including Quasthoff, who was denied admission into The University of Music in Hanover because of his physical setbacks, and was refused an audition. He recently did an interview with SPIEGEL about his retirement, and talks about how hard it can be for disabled people to earn money:

Naturally, money is the biggest issue for most people. The compensation and disability pensions aren’t much. The maximum payment, which I also receive, is about €1,000 ($1,300) a month. Now if I, as a (well paid) university professor and successful singer, had demanded more money, I would have felt sordid.

Also, he talks about how the pharmaceutical company, Grünenthal, which marketed Thalidomide, asked him to come to one of their Christmas parties to sing for them. His very correct reaction: “You must be out of your minds!” [via]

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