Today, in celebration of their first 25 years of presenting historically informed performances of the highest caliber and to commemorate 25 years of inspired leadership by Jeffrey Thomas, the American Bach Soloists (ABS) launched the Jeffrey Thomas Award to honor and encourage emerging early music professionals of remarkable merit.
This award is the latest initiative in a series of efforts to encourage future generations of early music professionals. Those efforts began in 1998 with the creation of the International Young Artists Competition. In 2006 this competition was renamed the American Bach Soloists & Henry I. Goldberg International Young Artists Competition, in memory of Goldberg, who served as Board President from 2002 until September of 2005. In addition, the First Prize was named in honor of Laurette Goldberg, a leading force in the Bay Area’s early music community for many years. Each year the competition focused on a different instrument, beginning with the harpsichord (Goldberg’s instrument) and including violin, flute, oboe, and voice in subsequent years. However, in 2011 the competition was suspended; and the funds were rechanneled to provide scholarships for the ABS Academy. The Jeffrey Thomas Award will thus resume the honor of recognizing an outstanding individual talent.
The inaugural recipient will be the English tenor Guy Cutting. Cutting toured with the choir of New College Oxford under Edward Higginbottom before deciding to launch a career as a soloist. As the first recipient, Cutting will receive a cash prize and an invitation to perform with ABS. That performance will take place in January in the first concert of the coming subscription season.