Artist Biographies

Jeffrey Thomas
Jeffrey Thomas
conductor

JEFFREY THOMAS is Artistic and Music Director of the American Bach Soloists, with whom he has directed and conducted recordings of more than 25 cantatas, the Mass in B Minor, Saint Matthew Passion, Brandenburg Concertos, and works by Corelli, Schütz, Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Haydn, and Beethoven. He has appeared with the Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Detroit, Houston, National, Rochester, Minnesota, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; with the Vienna Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic; with many renowned Baroque orchestras worldwide; and in Austria, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Mexico. He has performed at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto USA Festival, Ravinia Festival, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, Boston Early Music Festival, Bethlehem Bach Festival, Göttingen Festival, Tage Alte Musik Festival in Regensburg, E. Nakamichi Baroque Festival in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian Institution, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's "Next Wave Festival," and he has collaborated on several occasions as conductor with the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Educated at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School of Music, with further studies in English literature at Cambridge University, he has taught at the Amherst Early Music Workshop, Oberlin College Conservatory Baroque Performance Institute, San Francisco Early Music Society, and Southern Utah Early Music Workshops, presented master classes at the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, SUNY at Buffalo, Swarthmore College, and Washington University, been on the faculty of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and was artist-in-residence at the University of California, where he is now Professor Emeritus of Music in the Department of Music at UC Davis, where he held the Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Conducting. He was a UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow from 2001 to 2006; and the Rockefeller Foundation awarded him a prestigious Residency at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center at Villa Serbelloni for April 2007, to work on his manuscript, "Handel's Messiah: A Life of Its Own."

Mary Wilson
Mary Wilson
soprano

MARY WILSON (soprano) is acknowledged as one of today’s most exciting artists. Cultivating a wide-ranging career singing chamber music, oratorio and operatic repertoire, her “bright soprano seems to know no terrors, wrapping itself seductively around every phrase” (Dallas Morning News). Receiving consistent critical acclaim from coast to coast, “she proves why many in the opera world are heralding her as an emerging star. She is simply amazing, with a voice that induces goose bumps and a stage presence that is mesmerizing. She literally stole the spotlight…” (Arizona Daily Star). In high demand on the concert stage, she has most recently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Detroit Symphony, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Jacksonville Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, VocalEssence, and at the Hollywood Bowl. She has worked with conductors including Jeffrey Thomas, Bernard Labadie, Martin Pearlman, Martin Haselböck, JoAnn Falletta, Nicholas McGegan, Michael Stern, Anton Armstrong, Philip Brunelle, and Leonard Slatkin. An exciting interpreter of Baroque repertoire, especially Handel, she has appeared with American Bach Soloists, Boston Baroque, Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Bach Society of St. Louis, Musica Angelica, Baltimore Handel Choir, Florida Bach Festival, Philharmonia Baroque, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Casals Festival, and the Carmel Bach Festival. With the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, she sang the world premiere of the song cycle, Songs Old and New, written especially for her by Ned Rorem. On the opera stage, she is especially noted for her portrayals of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Susannah in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Gilda in Rigoletto. She has created leading roles in North American and World premiere performances of Dove’s Flight, Glass’ Galileo Galilei, and Petitgirard’s Joseph Merrick dit L’Elephant Man. She has appeared most recently with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Dayton Opera, Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera, Mississippi Opera, Southwest Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Goodman Theatre. An accomplished pianist, Ms. Wilson holds performance degrees from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Currently she is on the voice faculty at the University of Memphis and resides in Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband, son, and two dogs.

Eric Jurenas
Eric Jurenas
countertenor

ERIC JURENAS (countertenor) has been declared by The New York Times as an artist with “beautiful, well-supported tone and compelling expression,” and defined as having a “rich, mature voice” (Third Coast Digest), with “incredible power” (Opus Colorado). He has performed as a featured soloist with The Santa Fe Opera, The Dayton Philharmonic, Opera Philadelphia, Michigan Opera Theatre, American Bach Soloists, Colorado Bach Ensemble, Calvin College Choirs, Kentucky Bach Choir, and the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, among others. Highlights of 2013-2014 season included performances with American Bach Soloists in Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Messiah, and appearances with Juilliard415, New Juilliard Ensemble, and Burlington Choral Society. He recently performed with Michigan Opera Theatre (Handel’s Giulio Cesare) where he was applauded by Opera News for his “performances of admirable gusto.” His Northern California debut was in Handel’s Ariodante at the American Bach Soloists Academy. Mr. Jurenas received his Bachelor’s degree from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School. An avid competitor around the country and the world, Mr. Jurenas has won and received awards from several vocal competitions including a prestigious award from The Sullivan Foundation, first place in the Hal Leonard Online Vocal Competition, and prizes from the Dayton Opera Guild Competition, Kentucky Bach Choir Competition, and the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee Competition.

Kyle Stegall
Kyle Stegall
tenor

KYLE STEGALL (tenor) enjoys a career spanning concert, opera, recital, and chamber repertoire. Even in the early stages of his career, he has already appeared as soloist under the direction of Jeffrey Thomas, Simon Carrington, Joseph Flummerfelt, Masaaki Suzuki, Nicholas McGegan, and David Hill among others. He has performed the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Alexander’s Feast, and Bach’s Mass in B Minor with ensembles such as Juilliard415, Windsor Symphony Orchestra, and Yale Symphony Orchestra. He has toured throughout Japan and Singapore as soloist in performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor. He has also appeared with the Yale Voxtet in The Peoples Republic of Myanmar before traveling to Suffolk, U.K. to be in residence at the world-renowned Britten-Pears Young Artist Development Programme. The program is part of the Aldeburgh Music Festival, and featured Mr. Stegall with his frequent collaborator Steven McGhee in recitals of the music of Britten and Schubert. At the American Bach Soloists Academy, he performed as soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Handel’s Esther. A zealous chamber musician and ensemble singer, Mr. Stegall recently made his University Musical Society debut in Ann Arbor, MI in collaboration with pianist Martin Katz singing the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes. He is also a founding member of Prometheus: an American Vocal Consort. On the operatic stage, he has been seen in Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary repertoire. Notable among his roles are Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Laurie in Little Women, Le Chevalier Danois in Gluck’s Armide, and Little Bat in Susannah. Mr. Stegall received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Missouri School of Music in his hometown of Columbia. He then earned his Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and he has most recently completed additional studies at Yale University’s School of Music.

Jesse Blumberg
Jesse Blumberg
baritone

JESSE BLUMBERG (baritone) is equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages, performing repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque to the 21st century. His performances have included the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Agostino Steffani’s 17th-century opera Niobe, Regina di Tebe at the Boston Early Music Festival, Bernstein’s MASS at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and appearances with New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. Recital highlights include appearances with the Marilyn Horne Foundation and New York Festival of Song, and performances of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise with pianist Martin Katz. He has performed major works with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Oratorio Society of New York, Apollo’s Fire, Berkshire Choral Festival, TENET/Green Mountain Project, and on Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. Additionally, he has given the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Green Sneakers, Lisa Bielawa’s The Lay of the Love and Death, Conrad Cummings’ Positions 1956, and Tom Cipullo’s Excelsior, and has collaborated with several other renowned composers as a member of the Mirror Visions Ensemble. In the 2014-15 season, Mr. Blumberg returns to Boston Early Music Festival in November for Pergolesi chamber operas, and in January for a European concert tour of Niobe, Regina di Tebe. He will also return to American Bach Soloists, Boston Baroque, and Apollo’s Fire, and will make debuts in the spring with Hawaii Opera Theatre and Atlanta Opera. His 2013-14 season included debuts with Kentucky Opera, Opera Omnia, and Boston Baroque, and a return to Minnesota Opera for Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Blumberg’s extraordinary singing has been recognized in several competitions, and he was awarded Third Prize at the 2008 International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, becoming its first American prizewinner in over thirty years. He received a Master of Music degree from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and received undergraduate degrees in History and Music from the University of Michigan. He is also the founder and artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival, which brings chamber music of many genres to every corner of New York City.

John Thiessen
John Thiessen
trumpet

JOHN THIESSEN (trumpet) began his journey as a brass player on the modern valve trumpet, and he was introduced to the baroque trumpet as a young man in his native Ontario, Canada. Following his undergraduate degree in performance at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied 17th- and 18th-century music with lutenist Paul O’Dette and cultural historian Peter Kountz, Mr. Thiessen chose to specialize in period performance, training in the UK with renowned soloists Michael Laird and Crispian Steele-Perkins, and completing a master’s degree in musicology at King’s College, University of London. While living in the UK, he performed with the Academy of Ancient Music, Monteverdi Orchestra, Taverner Players, and Amsterdam Baroque. In 1990, he returned to Canada where he was Principal Trumpet with Tafelmusik, and now also holds that position with the American Bach Soloists, Trinity Baroque, Philharmonia Baroque, and the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra. On the modern trumpet, he has recently appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony and as principal with the St Luke’s Orchestra. 2013-14 season highlights include J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in New York and San Francisco, numerous cantatas with Trinity Baroque in New York, and Magnificat with Tafelmusik in Leipzig; as well as productions of Handel’s Messiah, Saul, Israel in Egypt, and Samson throughout North America. John teaches at the Juilliard School of Music, and has presented master classes throughout the United States and Canada. He has recorded extensively for Sony Classical Vivarte, Telarc, EMI, BMG, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, London Decca, Analekta, CBC, Tafelmusik Media, and Denon, including major works by Bach, Handel, Purcell, Vivaldi, Biber, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert.

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