The winner of the inaugural 2014 Jeffrey Thomas Award was tenor Guy Cutting who very recently impressed audiences and critics in his performances with ABS in “Bach’s Magnificat” in January 2014. Welcoming Mr. Cutting to the Bay Area for his appearances with ABS was especially gratifying. In addition to being a superb artist and exciting newcomer to the early music community, he greatly enjoyed the ABS environment and the San Francisco Bay Area. ABS Executive Director Don Scott Carpenter spoke with Guy about being the first recipient of the Jeffrey Thomas Award and working with ABS:
What are your impressions of ABS and the new colleagues that you met?
I thoroughly enjoyed working with the ABS team in January; it was a pleasure to work with so many fine Baroque musicians. Music aside, I was hugely grateful for the warm welcome that I received from the very start of my visit, which enabled me to relax and enjoy the concerts as much as possible.
What is it like to work with Jeffrey Thomas?
Jeffrey is a fantastic musician and lovely to work for. His musical ideas and suggestions are well grounded and enhance the music. He demands the necessary high standards of his performers but always in a calm and pleasant atmosphere for both rehearsal and concert.
As a performer, what draws you to Bach’s music?
I was introduced to Bach as a chorister at New College, Oxford. We used to perform the St. John Passion at least once a year. I would also hear Bach at home—my parents, both professional musicians themselves, are huge Bach fans. As a result, I quickly developed an admiration for his music.
As a high tenor, it doesn’t get much better than singing Bach. Although challenging, it is always thrilling. The evangelist roles in both the St. John and the St. Matthew Passions are personal favorites of mine—there is always a huge sense of accomplishment (and relief!) when finishing the final recitative!
What’s coming up next for you on your performance schedule?
I’ll be spending April in The Netherlands evangelising Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht, then performing five concerts with the Nederlands Kamerkoor. In February and March, I’ll be recording two early music CDs in London; the first with Alamire, the second with Contrapunctus. I’ll be touring both the UK and Europe with The Orlando Consort, The Marian Consort, and The Tenebrae Choir. I’ll be involved in a reconstruction of the first performance of Handel’s Messiah—in period costume—with the Gabrieli Consort, which will be released as a short film on BBC television later this year.
Highlights of the rest of the year include tours to Russia, Holland, Germany and the USA with The Tallis Scholars, a three-week trip to Australia with the Fieri Consort, and concerts in England, Ireland, and Germany with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.