Jeffrey Thomas to give lecture and master class at Eastman School of Music

Jeffrey Thomas Photo: Gene Kosoy

Jeffrey Thomas
Photo: Gene Kosoy

Next month, ABS Artistic and Music Director Jeffrey Thomas will be heading to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Invited to give a lecture on Handel’s Messiah and to work with student conductors and singers on Bach interpretation, Maestro Thomas will be in residence at Eastman November 10 and 11.

Eastman’s Voice and Opera Department faculty member, Kathryn Cowdrick was instrumental in orchestrating the visit. She and Thomas have been friends and colleagues for many years, and their musical journeys have had many parallels. Cowdrick said of the upcoming visit:

The Voice and Opera department of the Eastman School of Music is thrilled to have Jeffrey Thomas visit us this November. This past year, our choral department has been presenting Bach cantatas and our young conductors, soloists and orchestras have enjoyed working together on these great, rarely performed works. It occurred to me that the perfect person to come visit might be a beloved friend of mine from the past.

Jeff and I both grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania. We both stood at the same bus stop during elementary school and later reaped the benefits of a culturally rich music community in high school choral organizations. We both went to NYC to study–me as a speech pathologist and he, after Oberlin, to attend Juilliard.
 A few years later we were both in the opera department there and then followed similar paths to the San Francisco Opera where I too was fortunate enough to gain an Adler fellowship and begin my career. Jeff was always such a gifted young organist, soloist, and conductor–always creating new performance opportunities in a leadership role.

Eastman School of Music

Eastman School of Music

I am so excited about Jeff’s work with American Bach Soloists and that he will be coming to Eastman to meet our students. Our department is dedicated to not only opera performance but also to the joys students find in collaborative work, oratorio, and lieder. I would have to add that sometimes those collaborations arise with people we met almost 50 years ago in the neighborhood. We are looking forward to his presentation about Messiah and seeing him help our young singers in a master class on preparing Bach arias and ornamentation.”

In 2015, Maestro Thomas and other members of ABS will also be presenting master classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For more information about these exciting opportunities to hear ABS artists work with talented, young Bay Area musicians please visit our website.