The Jeffrey Thomas Award


2021 Recipients

The American Bach Soloists are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Jeffrey Thomas Award which 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. 

Tomà Iliev

Tomà Iliev

"I feel truly honored and humbled by this recognition. In the past year (and before that as well!) playing with ABS has been a real blessing in my life, one of the things that kept me going! The recordings we did brought me so much joy and warmth and I am so grateful to Jeffrey Thomas and everybody at ABS for all that you do."


YuEun Gemma Kim

YuEun Gemma Kim

"2020 was a difficult time for everyone but also it gave us a chance to break our boundaries. I believe we all learned something in a different way. I’m very honored to receive this award and looking forward to being on stage with ABS!"


Rachell Ellen Wong

Rachell Ellen Wong

"I am extremely honored to be a recipient of the Jeffrey Thomas award! I am grateful to Jeffrey and the rest of ABS for the support that they have given me and other younger artists throughout the years, especially over the pandemic. Being able to come back to the Bay Area and make music with ABS last spring was such a good experience and I look forward to making more music with ABS!"


Inaugurated in 2013, the Jeffrey Thomas Award was created by the American Bach Soloists in celebration of their first 25 years of ABS Artistic & Music Director Jeffrey Thomas’s tenure of inspired leadership. The Jeffrey Thomas Award takes its place within the organization’s already robust and long history of rewarding young talent. 


Tomà Iliev, violin
YuEun Gemma Kim, violin
Rachell Ellen Wong, violin

Sarah Coit, mezzo-soprano

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, countertenor

Jude Ziliak, violin

Eric Jurenas, countertenor

Tatiana Chulochnikova, violin

Gretchen Claassen, violoncello

Guy Cutting, tenor

The American Bach Soloists and Henry I. Goldberg 
Young Artists Competition


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.

Previous Winners

2008 Violin
Andrew Fouts (First Prize)
Johanna Novom (First Prize)
Marc Levine

2006 Vocalists
Ian Howell, countertenor (First Prize)
Derek Chester, tenor
Joshua Copeland, baritone
Yulia Van Doren, soprano

2002 Flute & Oboe
Amy Guitry, flute (First Prize)
Debra Nagy, oboe (First Prize)
Christopher Milan Palameta, oboe

2000 Violin
Simos Papanas (First Prize)
Emily Fowler
Heidi Powell

1998 Harpsichord
Michael Sponseller (First Prize)
Corey Jamason
Ho-Sun Moon
Heidi Tsai


P.O. Box 421986
San Francisco CA 94142


Phone: +1 (415) 621 7900 
Fax: +1 (415) 621 7920