Press Release - American Bach Soloists - Jeffrey Thomas Award



Contact: Jeff McMillan
(415) 621-7900 ext. 204

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—August 22, 2013—In celebration of their first 25 years of presenting the finest in early music performances in Northern California, across the United States, and around the world, and to commemorate ABS artistic and music director Jeffrey Thomas’s 25 years of inspired leadership, the American Bach Soloists have created the Jeffrey Thomas Award to honor and encourage emerging early music professionals of remarkable merit.
The inaugural recipient of the Jeffrey Thomas Award is Guy Cutting, an English tenor who earned tremendous experience touring worldwide as a chorister with New College Oxford under Edward Higginbottom, before emerging recently as a distinguished solo artist. Earning plaudits for his appearances in J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, and Purcell’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, Mr. Cutting is certainly a new, exciting talent to watch. The young tenor will make his American Bach Soloists debut on January 24, 2014 as a soloist in Bach’s Magnificat and Cantatas 214 & 130.
The Jeffrey Thomas Award is ABS’s newest initiative within a robust and lengthy history of encouraging the next generation of early music professionals. In 1998, ABS established their International Young Artists Competition to foster emerging musicians who wished to pursue a career in early music. In 2006, the competition was named the American Bach Soloists & Henry I. Goldberg International Young Artists Competition, in memory of Dr. Henry I. Goldberg, Board President for the ensemble from 2002 until September 2005. Additionally, the First Prize was named in honor of the inestimable legacy of Laurette Goldberg, a leading force in the Bay Area's early music community for many years. To ensure the broadest scope in this endeavor, from year to year the competitions focused on different instruments, attracting musicians from around the globe. The first competition, in 1998, was for harpsichord. In subsequent years, violin, flute, oboe, and vocalists took the spotlight. In 2010, competition award funds were offered as a Goldberg Prize to three promising participants of the American Bach Soloists ACADEMY, an advanced training program for emerging professionals and accomplished students of Historically Informed Performance Practice. In 2011, the Competition and special prizes were suspended in favor of scholarships for the ABS Academy. Consequently, the ABS Academy has developed into one of the leading programs of its kind, bring eminent faculty and participants together for two weeks of immersive, multi-disciplinary training each July concurrently with the ABS Festival—known as San Francisco’s Summer Bach Festival.
The newly inaugurated Jeffrey Thomas Award will be granted annually at the artistic director’s discretion to young professionals who show exceptional promise in the field of early music performance. In tandem with a cash prize, recipients are invited to perform with American Bach Soloists. 
The American Bach Soloists engage and inspire audiences through historically informed performances, recordings, and educational programs that emphasize the music of the Baroque, Classical, and Early Romantic eras. Founded in 1989, the ensemble has achieved its vision of assembling the world’s finest vocalists and period-instrument performers to bring this brilliant music to life. For more than two decades, Jeffrey Thomas has brought thoughtful, meaningful, and informed perspectives to his performances as Artistic and Music Director of the American Bach Soloists. Fanfare Magazine proclaimed that “Thomas’s direction seems just right, capturing the humanity of the music…there is no higher praise for Bach performance.”


Renowned for his experience, knowledge and sensitivity for the music of the Baroque, Jeffrey Thomas’s preparation of the major works of the repertory such as Bach’s Mass in B Minor, St. Matthew Passion, and Handel’s Messiah have led to inspired, definitive performances that have become synonymous with the ensemble he has led with such distinction, American Bach Soloists. San Francisco Classical Voice said, “Jeffrey Thomas is still pushing the musical Baroque envelope.”
Before devoting all of his time to conducting, he was one of the first recipients of the San Francisco Opera Company's prestigious Adler Fellowships. Cited by The Wall Street Journal as “a superstar among oratorio tenors,” Mr. Thomas's extensive discography of vocal music includes dozens of recordings of major works for Decca, EMI, Erato, Koch International Classics, Denon, Harmonia Mundi, Smithsonian, Newport Classics, and Arabesque. He is a Professor of Music at the University of California, Davis, where he holds the Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Choral Conducting. Mr. Thomas currently hosts two shows on one of the nation's premiere classical music radio stations, KDFC, the most recent major commercial classical station in America to make the transition to public radio. Through worldwide streaming audio, he brings his experience and love for baroque and choral music to a global audience. [more...]


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American Bach Soloists
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San Francisco, California 94102-5975

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