Early life and education
Bostridge was born in London, the son of Leslie Bostridge and Lillian (née Clark). His father was a chartered surveyor. Bostridge studied at Dulwich College Preparatory School and Westminster School, where he was a Queen's Scholar.
He then attended St John's College, Oxford, where he secured a First in modern history and St John's College, Cambridge, where he received an M.Phil in the history and philosophy of science. He was awarded his D.Phil from Oxford in 1990, on the significance of witchcraft in English public life from 1650 to 1750, supervised by Keith Thomas. He worked in television current affairs and documentaries for two years in London before becoming a British Academy post-doctoral fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, teaching political theory and eighteenth-century British history. He became a full-time singer in 1995, aged thirty.
His book Witchcraft and Its Transformations, c. 1650–1750 was published as an Oxford Historical Monograph in 1997. This – "the most sophisticated and original of all recent histories of early modern demonology" according to Professor Stuart Clark ("Witchcraft and Magic in Europe" volume 4, p139, 2002) – has been an influential work in the study of the pre-Enlightenment. It "achiev[es] 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). In 1991 he won the National Federation of Music Societies Award and from 1992 received support from the Young Concert Artists Trust.
Bostridge only began singing professionally at age 27 and 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 and Berlin Philharmonic 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 Franz Schubert Edition won the Gramophone's Solo Vocal Award for 1996; he won the prize again in 1998 for a recording of Robert Schumann Lieder with his regular collaborator, the pianist Julius Drake. An EMI Classics exclusive artist since 1996, he is a thirteen-time Grammy Award nominee. His CDs have won most of the major record prizes including Grammy, Edison, Japanese Recording Academy, Brit, South Bank Show Award, Diapason d'Or de l'Année, Choc de l'Année, Echo Klassik and Deutsche Schallplattenpreis. His recording of Schubert's "Die Forelle" with Julius Drake forms part of the soundtrack of the 2011 film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Bostridge made his operatic debut in 1994, aged 29, as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Opera Australia at the Edinburgh Festival, directed by Baz Luhrmann. In 1996 made his 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) (Grammy Award) 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; he has been the subject of a South Bank Show profile documentary on ITV and presented the BBC 4 film The Diary of One Who Disappeared about Czech composer Leoš Janáček. He has written on music for The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, Opernwelt, BBC Music Magazine, Opera Now and 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 Cuvilliés Theatre). In 1999 he made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Roger Norrington. He works regularly with the pianists Julius Drake, Graham Johnson, Mitsuko Uchida, composer Thomas Ades  and Covent Garden music director Antonio Pappano. Other partners at the piano have included Leif Ove Andsnes, Havard Gimse and Lars Vogt.
In the summer of 2000 Bostridge gave the fifth annual Edinburgh University Festival Lecture entitled "Music and Magic".
In 2004 Bostridge was made CBE for his services to music. He is an Hon RAM, honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College and of St John's College, Oxford, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of St Andrews in 2003. He is Humanitas Professor of Classical Music and Education at the University of Oxford, 2014-15. He will be a visiting professor at UC Berkeley in 2015.
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". The service marked the loss of the WWI generation, whose last members died earlier the same year.
Bostridge was for a time the music columnist for Standpoint magazine, the monthly publication launched in 2008 "to celebrate Western civilisation"; he continues to serve on the magazine's advisory board. He is a Youth Music Ambassador, a patron of the Music Libraries Trust and of the Macmillan Cancer Support Guards Chapel Carol Concert.
A collection of his writings on music, A Singer's Notebook, was published by Faber and Faber in September 2011. It was described by philosopher Michael Tanner, in BBC Music Magazine: "A consistently lively, learned, urbane and passionate book, once opened not likely to be closed until you have read it all."
His book Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession was published by Faber and Faber in December 2014.
In 1992 Bostridge married the writer and publisher Lucasta Miller, and they have a son and a daughter. His brother is the Whitbread-shortlisted biographer and critic Mark Bostridge, whose book Florence Nightingale: the woman and her legend was published in 2008. They are great-grandchildren of John Joyce, "Tiny Joyce", a goalkeeper who played for Tottenham Hotspur before the First World War.
His hobbies include reading, cooking, and looking at pictures.
- 1997: Witchcraft and its Transformations, c. 1650–1750, Oxford Historical Monographs, (Sir John Elliott (ed.)), Oxford University Press 
- 2011: A Singer's Notebook, Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-2524-51 
- 2014: Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession, Faber and Faber, ISBN-10: 0571282806. Published, 18 Dec 2014
- Britten: The Rape of Lucretia with Oliver Knussen (EMI Classics, 2013)
- Britten Songs with Antonio Pappano and Xuefei Yang (EMI Classics, 2013)
- Three Baroque Tenors Arias for Beard, Borosini and Fabri. Bernard Labadie (EMI Classics 2010)
- 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 Bicket (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)
- Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress with John Eliot Gardiner (Deutsche Grammophon, 1999)
- Bach: St Matthew Passion (Evangelist) with Philippe Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi, 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)
- Debrett's People of Today 2005 (18th ed.). Debrett's. p. 175. ISBN 1-870520-10-6.
- Clark, Andrew (8 November 2013). "Lunch with the FT: Ian Bostridge". ft.com. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Witch ideologies". London: The Times. 17 October 1997. (pay to view)
- The Guardian (London) http://www.guardian.co.uk/family/story/0,,1738804,00.html
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- Official Facebook page
- Witchcraft and Its Transformations, c.1650-c.1750 (Doctoral thesis, at amazon.com)
- Ian Bostridge official MySpace music page
- About Ian Bostridge
- FT profile May 2011
- Guardian profile September 2011
- EMI artist page
- Interview with Ian Bostridge by Bruce Duffie, 12 October 2000
- Lunch with the FT