The Jeffrey Thomas Award is granted annually at the Artistic Director’s discretion to honor, recognize, and encourage exceptionally gifted emerging professionals in the field of early music who show extraordinary promise and accomplishment. Inaugurated in 2013, the Jeffrey Thomas Award was created by the American Bach Soloists in celebration of their first 25 years of presenting performances in Northern California, across the United States, and around the world, and ABS Artistic & Music Director Jeffrey Thomas’s tenure of inspired leadership. In tandem with a cash prize, recipients are invited to perform with American Bach Soloists. The Jeffrey Thomas Award takes its place within the organization’s already robust and long history of rewarding young talent.
2019 Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, countertenor
2018 Jude Ziliak, violin
2017 Eric Jurenas, countertenor
2016 Tatiana Chulochnikova, violin
2015 Gretchen Claassen, violoncello
2014 Guy Cutting, tenor
In 1998, in conjunction with the Fifth Biennial Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, the American Bach Soloists established the International Young Artists Competition as a way to foster emerging musicians who wish to pursue a career in early music. In 2006, the competition was named the American Bach Soloists & Henry I. Goldberg International Young Artists Competition, in memory of Dr. Henry I. Goldberg, who served as Board President for the ensemble from 2002 until September 2005. In addition, the First Prize is named in honor of the inestimable legacy of Laurette Goldberg, a leading force in the Bay Area's early music community for many years.
To ensure the broadest scope in this endeavor, from year to year the competitions have focused on different instruments, attracting musicians from around the globe. The first competition, in 1998, was for harpsichord. Violin took the spotlight in 2000, followed by flute and oboe in 2002. The competition was postponed in 2004. The 2006 competition was for vocalists, and the 2008 competition was for violinists.
In 2010, competition award funds were offered as a Goldberg Prize to three promising participants of the American Bach Soloists ACADEMY, an advanced training program for emerging professionals and accomplished students of Historically Informed Performance Practice. In 2011, the Competition and special prizes were suspended in favor of funding scholarships for the Academy.
Michael Sponseller (First Prize)
Simos Papanas (First Prize)
2002 Flute & Oboe
Amy Guitry, flute (First Prize)
Debra Nagy, oboe (First Prize)
Christopher Milan Palameta, oboe
Ian Howell, countertenor (First Prize)
Derek Chester, tenor
Joshua Copeland, baritone
Yulia Van Doren, soprano
Andrew Fouts (First Prize)
Johanna Novom (First Prize)