ABS is pleased to announce that countertenor Eric Jurenas is the 2017 recipient of The Jeffrey Thomas Award. Within only a few short years, Jurenas has emerged from auspicious talent at the 2011 ABS Academy to one of the leading young countertenors of his generation. Making a vivid impression in opera and on the concert stage, The New York Times praised Jurenas for his “beautiful, well-supported tone and compelling expression.” Following a recent performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, his “exceptionally clear tone” and “vocal flexibility” were applauded by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Having received considerable acclaim in the United States and abroad, Jurenas’s enterprising success and impact on the music scene make him an ideal recipient for The Jeffrey Thomas Award, which was created to inspire artists of unusual promise and precocious achievement.
Jurenas grew up outside Washington, D.C. where his youthful ambition was to be a jazz drummer and perform with big bands. His musical focus shifted once he began playing piano and joined his high school chorus as a bass. At the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, he made the switch to countertenor. At the ABS Academy, he distinguished himself in his portrayal of Polinesso in Handel’s Ariodante.
While pursuing a Master’s degree at the Juilliard School, Jurenas’s professional career took off. He has worked with several groups as a featured artist, including the Santa Fe Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Philadelphia, Wolf Trap Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Dayton Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Burlington Choral Society, Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival, and the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, among others. He completed his graduate degree in 2015 and is currently enjoying a sensational 2015-16 season with performances in Opera Lafayette’s production of Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica and his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in Eötvös’s Three Sisters. As a concert singer, Jurenas has performed contemporary works and Baroque repertory with many of the finest ensembles. With American Bach Soloists, he has performed works by Bach (Magnificat; Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden) and Handel (Dixit Dominus; Messiah), including an appearance as a featured soloist in the 2016 film, Handel’s Messiah in Grace Cathedral. He has also performed as a soloist with Juilliard 415, Colorado Bach Ensemble, and Concerto Brabant in The Netherlands, among many others.
Founded in 2013 to recognize and encourage young leaders within the Early Music community, The Jeffrey Thomas Award is given annually by ABS Artistic and Music Director Jeffrey Thomas. Recipients are awarded a cash prize and invited to perform with American Bach Soloists. Past recipients of the Award include tenor Guy Cutting (2014), violoncellist Gretchen Claassen (2015), and violinist Tatiana Chulochnikova (2016).
Hear Eric Jurenas with ABS from April 22-25
Don’t miss your chance to hear Jurenas in Easter & Ascension Oratorios. The all-star assemblage of ABS artists for this uplifting program of music by Bach, Kuhnau, and Buxtehude will also include soprano Clara Rottsolk, tenor Zachary Wilder, bass Joshua Copeland, the American Bach Choir, and the instrumentalists of ABS, all under the direction of Jeffrey Thomas. Good seats remain, but they are going fast. Get your tickets today! (americanbach.org or 415-621-7900).