Thank You from ABS Executive Director Don Scott Carpenter

December 31, 2013

I must start with Thank you! American Bach Soloists  had such an exciting 24th season in 2013; I cannot believe another year has already passed. I am again reminded of the impact we have on the Bay Area, across the country, and around the globe and I am so grateful to everyone who supports us in all of our endeavors. Whether you attend our annual subscription season, our Summer Bach Festival, our Summer Academy, our annual performances of Messiah, master classes, lectures, or so many other initiatives, we appreciate how much you trust us to present the finest early-music performances anywhere.

In January we presented Bach’s St. John Passion and continued with “Bach, Handel, & Vivaldi” in March, and Handel’s Apollo & Dafne in May. Our ABS Festival & Academy returned in July with a chamber performance by our international faculty, two performances of the Mass in B Minor, a concert-version of Handel’s Esther, a solo performance by Distinguished Artist Tanya Tomkins, and the highlight of this year’s Festival, Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis – scored for 53 individually composed parts. Our 25th season kicked-off on September 21st with our fundraising Gala at St. Stephen’s Church, Belvedere, and continued in December with our annual performances of Messiah in Grace Cathedral and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, as well as a one-night only holiday concert, “An ABS Christmas.” And of course, we released our newest recording on December 10th, Mary Wilson sings Handel. 

“The length of his [Jeffrey Thomas] (and many of his associates’) tenure helps to explain the unique group style, level of artistry and sense of community ABS possesses.”
(David Littlejohn, Wall Street Journal)

“Thank goodness for ABS!”
(Jonathan Rhodes Lee, SFCV)

“American Bach Soloists are a historically informed orchestra that relies on period instruments or copies thereof. A pianist friend described them as ‘simply the best,’ which was confirmed by their Berkeley performance of the St. John Passion.”
(Cy Ashley Webb, Stark Insider)

“Handel’s Messiah is one of those durable traditions that are the music industry’s equivalent of ‘Black Friday.’ In the Bay Area, if this is part of your holiday to-do list, then there are five words for you: American Bach Soloists, Grace Cathedral.”
(Michael Zweibach, SFCV)

As we turn the calendar over to the New Year, we continue our 25th season celebration as we immediately enter into our subscription season on January 24-27 with Bach’s Magnificat, followed on February 21-24 with Bach’s Hercules, and concluding on April 25-28 with Bach’s Legacy. In July we will present the 5th annual American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy, featuring our annual performances of the Mass in B Minor, as well as Pergolesi’s Stabat mater (arranged by Bach) and Bach’s Concerto for Three Harpsichords. The Festival also includes Distinguished Artist Mary Wilson and plenty of free master classes and lectures.  On September 21, ABS will host our annual gala at St. Stephen’s, Belvedere, and in December we will present five performances of Handel’s Messiah in Grace Cathedral, the Mondavi Center, and the Green Center.

Over the course of 2013 we saw an increase in earned income of 14% and contributed income of 25%, which includes 149 first time donors. Our board has been diligent in monitoring our fiscal health to ensure that ABS is here for future generations to experience. American Bach Soloists exists because you support and appreciate great music in so many ways. We are grateful for your patronage and look forward to seeing you in 2014 during our 25th season!  If you haven’t had the opportunity to support ABS this calendar year, it’s still not too late! You can visit our website at to make your year-end contribution.

On behalf of music director Jeffrey Thomas, the musicians, board, and staff, I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

With sincere gratitude,
Don Scott Carpenter