San Francisco • March 5 2019
Now beginning our fourth decade, we offer a redesigned season built to give you, our audiences, more of what you love from ABS!
Let music Captivate your soul. Celebrate our new season with us and
Cultivate your love for the extraordinary music of the Baroque.

In its 10th season, our Summer Festival & Academy now includes an additional weekend of performances and more free public events to bring you closer to the excitement that surrounds our annual Academy along with stunning programs of absolutely sensational musical works and ventures into new and imaginative territory.

Of course, the focus on major works from the Baroque is still at the core of our Summer Festival, voted “Best of the Bay” by SFCV readers. All-time favorites including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Bach’s Mass in B Minor will be presented with Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate and Terpsicore , Lotti’s “Mass for Three Choirs,” Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (in an important newly researched version), Geminiani’s imaginative and picturesque Enchanted Forest , and endearing concertos about frogs and crickets by Telemann.

Also new this summer are a “Coffee House Concert” featuring our amazing Academy musicians and “Bach Explorations” including “Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond!”

at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music


Sunday July 28 2019 
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Telemann: Grillen-Symphonie (“Crickets”)
Telemann: Concerto in A Major, " Die Relinge " (“Tree Frogs”)
Geminiani: The Enchanted Forest

Elizabeth Blumenstock, Tatiana Chulochnikova, Noah Strick, Rachell Ellen Wong, violin
Thomas Carroll, chalumeau • Debra Nagy, oboe • Sandra Miller, flauto piccolo
Steven Lehning, Daniel Turkos, contrabass
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • Throughout the centuries, composers have been fascinated by the deep-rooted relationship between Music & Nature. Music can imitate the sounds of nature, and the voices of nature have played a prominent role in music that we love, from madrigals to Mahler. Telemann’s music about tree frogs and crickets leads us to Geminiani’s fascinating depiction of an enchanted forest. And perhaps the most dramatic portrayal of all is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which will feature four virtuoso violinists taking on the colors and climates of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
Elizabeth Blumenstock • Tatiana Chulochnikova
Noah Strick • Rachell Ellen Wong

Friday August 2 2019 
Works performed at the Concert de Lyon
Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (Lyon version)
Handel: Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate

Mary Wilson, soprano • William Sharp, baritone
American Bach Soloists • American Bach Choir • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • One of the most popular musical works during the Baroque era was Pergolesi’s plaintive Stabat Mater. It was so much in vogue during the middle of the 18th century that other composers and their publishers would try to claim Pergolesi’s authorship of other spurious works. Performances of the Stabat Mater could be heard throughout Europe, even in France which maintained a superciliousness against Italian music. ABS will present the premiere of an edition found within the library of the Concert de Lyon, one of two trend-making concert organizations in France at that time. Also found within that library is Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate, triumphant music to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, eventually ending the War of the Spanish Succession.
Mary Wilson, soprano • William Sharp, baritone

Saturday August 3 2019
Couperin: Apotheosis of Corelli & Apotheosis of Lully
Locatelli: Sonata for Flute and Basso continuo
Boismortier: Sonata for Two Viols
Boismortier: Concerto for Flute, Oboe, Violin, Bassoon, and Basso continuo
Viviani: Sonata for Trumpet

American Bach Soloists

  • In the 18th century, both Italy and France had their own unique ways of composing and performing music. It became a widely held opinion that the unification of these two styles would amount to no less than the perfection of music. François Couperin’s two musical apotheoses—intended to deify the leading exponents of each of these opposing styles—frame a program that draws attention to this “perfection” through the music of composers from both sides of what was a passionate discourse. 

Sunday August 4 2019

Academy Orchestra & Soloists • American Bach Choir • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • The 2019 Festival & Academy brings the 10th annual collaboration of the Academy Orchestra & Soloists with the American Bach Choir in Johann Sebastian Bach’s consummate masterwork, the Mass in B Minor. Under the meticulous and insightful direction of Jeffrey Thomas, these performances bring eye-opening revelations of Bach’s score that draws upon 35 years of his compositions. 
Academy Orchestra • American Bach Choir • Jeffrey Thomas

Tuesday August 6 2019
7:00 p.m. Bach Explorations I: “Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond”

  • For centuries, Bach’s timeless music has influenced and enlightened listeners and performers alike. Utilizing it as a source of harmonic and melodic content, musicians from all genres have adapted and drawn inspiration from Bach’s artistry. “Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond” explores themes from the Brandenburg Concertos, cantatas, and more in folk and jazz idioms. Be prepared to tap your toes and experience Bach in a new way. 

Wednesday August 7 2019
7:00 p.m. Bach Explorations II: “Bach Re-imagined”

  • “Bach Re-imagined” explores the sonorities of instruments outside the realm of the Baroque, drawing upon the richness of Bach transcriptions and the new repertoire they provide for performers.

Thursday August 8 2019

Academy Orchestra & Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • Terpsicore is the only opera prologue composed by Handel. It was premiered in 1734 as the opening to Il Pastor Fido, an opera that contained some of the best music from at least a half dozen previous operas and serenatas. In praise of Apollo, Erato (the muse of music) and Terpsicore (the muse of dance), its performance featured two of Handel’s greatest singers (castrato Giovanni Carestini and soprano Anna Maria Strada) and the celebrated Marie Sallé. Arias, duets, choruses, and dance music permeate this wonderful opéra-ballet. While the title of Lotti’s captivating “Mass for Three Choirs” can be misleading, it is a work composed for more than 20 independent vocal and instrumental parts, often organized in as many as five different and separated groups, drawing up the Venetian tradition of poly-choral, or cori spezzati, works from the time of the great composers at San Marco. Academy participants are featured in both of these performances.

Thursday August 8 2019 & Friday August 9 2019

Academy Orchestra & Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • See above.

Sunday August 11 2019

Academy Orchestra & Soloists • American Bach Choir • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • See above.


Tuesday July 30 2019
5:00 p.m. Public Forum I : “Am I in Tune? - Practical Tuning & Temperaments” / Steven Lehning (free)

Wednesday July 31 2019
5:00 p.m. Public Forum II : “Seeing Ourselves: 500 Years of Musical Iconography (Inspiration from the visual arts through images of musicians, 1300-1800)” / Corey Jamason (free)

Saturday August 3 2019
2:00 p.m. Public Colloquium (free)

  • Goût, or “taste,” was a matter of great social, and sometimes political, import in 18th-century France. A preference for the quintessentially French music of Couperin, for example, marked one as a supporter of Bourbon King Louis XV, whereas the proponents of Italian opera (which was barred from the stage of the Paris Opéra for almost a century) were often loyal to the rival House of Orléans. A number of this year’s Festival events will focus on the ways that the factions sometimes met in the middle: the goûts-réunis (“blended taste”) and the performance of Italian music in France. Our colloquium, presented by musicologist Beverly Wilcox and performer/scholar Debra Nagy, will address three facets of those syntheses.

Session I (2:00 p.m.): How to Form a Concert Society: (Ten) Lessons from Lyon 

  • The Concert de Lyon, which amused and edified the citizens of Lyon from 1713 to 1773, was the first successful structure for large-scale concerts of the modern era. Times change, but actions of the Concert’s guiding spirits can enlighten decisions being made today.

Session II (3:00 p.m.): Le Goût Italian: Performing Italian Music in France

  • Despite infamous pamphlet wars degrading Italian music and style, Italian music and musicians were welcomed with open arms in the homes of cognoscenti and on Paris’s influential concert stages. This talk explores the fascinating dichotomy between anti-Italian propaganda and the tremendous popularity of Italian works including Corelli sonatas and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in 17th- and 18th-century France.

Session III (4:00 p.m.): A(nother) Tale of Two Cities: A Dickens of a Musical Surprise

  • One would think that Italian music played in Paris concerts came from Italy. Mais non! Surprising new discoveries suggest that much of the Italian music heard at 18th-century Paris concerts was imported by the circle of divas and castrati surrounding Handel and other Italian-opera impresarios in London.

Monday August 5 2019
3:00 p.m. Public Master Class / Harpsichord (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture “Explorations: Great Music Thrives (Modern Transformations of Works from the Baroque)” / Jeffrey Thomas (free)
7:00 p.m. Baroque Marathon (Academy-in-Action) I – Chamber Music (free)

  • ABS Academy musicians perform chamber works from the Baroque.

Tuesday August 6 2019
3:00 p.m. Public Master Class / Upper Strings (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture “Poetic Performance: Making the Most of Rhetoric and Musical Gestures” / Debra Nagy (free)

Wednesday August 7 2019
3:00 p.m. Public Master Class / Lower Strings (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture “The Baroque Trumpet: Issues of Authenticity and Rhetoric” / John Thiessen (free)

Thursday August 8 2019
3:00 p.m. Public Master Class / Winds & Brass (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture “Handel’s Muse: Marie Sallé and the Premiere of Terpsicore ” / Robert Mealy (free)

Friday August 9 2019
3:00 p.m. Public Master Class / Voice (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture Cori spezzati : Antiphonal music from Gabrieli to Lotti” / Kenneth Slowik (free)

Saturday August 10 2019
2:00 p.m. Baroque Marathon (Academy-in-Action) II – Bach Arias (free)

  • ABS Academy musicians perform arias and duets with instrumental ensembles from the great cantatas of Bach.

7:00 p.m. “Coffee House Concert” (free)

  • Informal performances by ABS Academy participants borrow from an “open mic” concept that provides a forum for musicians and observers alike to enjoy a relaxing and unpredictable evening that is sure to please. The Conservatory’s Café Crème will be open to provide hot and cold beverages that can be enjoyed in the Conservatory’s Salon concert space.

A trilogy of festive events marks the mid-point of the season. ABS’s annual “Sparkle!” Gala offers “An Enchanting Evening in Old Spain” celebrating the culture, dance, landscape, and music of Spain and the musicians who were inspired by that beautiful country. The evening’s exclusive concert will feature Telemann’s wonderful Burlesque de Quixotte, a light-hearted tribute to the novel Don Quixote by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. 

Our annual tradition of performances of Handel’s Messiah in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral perennially provide a treasured December holiday event to capacity audiences. The crystalline voices of the American Bach Choir and the silvery sheen of sonorities brought by ABS’s period-instrument orchestra meld with the majestic interior of San Francisco’s Nob Hill landmark. 

And—back by popular demand—we will again usher in the new year with “A Baroque New Year’s Eve at the Opera” in San Francisco’s beautiful Herbst Theatre, featuring San Francisco Opera favorite, baritone Hadleigh Adams.

Annual Gala Auction, Concert, and Dinner
Saturday September 28 2019 5:00 p.m.
James Leary Flood Mansion, San Francisco

Telemann: Burlesque de Quixotte
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso in D Minor “La Folia”
Purcell: Incidental songs for The Comical History of Don Quixote

Hélène Brunet, soprano
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • Celebrating the culture, dance, landscape, and music of Spain and the musicians who were inspired by that beautiful country, the 17th Annual ABS Gala Auction, Concert, and Dinner begins with an exclusive concert featuring soprano Hélène Brunet, hailed by the critics as a “singer of tremendous quality” with “a voice of perfect beauty” and “sincere expression.” Hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction—featuring travel, wine, art, concert tickets, and our much sought-after "ABS Exclusives"—are followed by a delicious dinner and live auction that will raise important funds to support American Bach Soloists.
Hélène Brunet, soprano

Wednesday December 11 2019 7:30 p.m.
Thursday December 12 2019 7:30 p.m.
Friday December 13 2019 7:30 p.m.
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

Hélène Brunet, soprano
Rebecca Powers, mezzo-soprano (debut)
Steven Brennfleck, tenor
Hadleigh Adams, baritone
American Bach Soloists • American Bach Choir • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • Our December concerts begin with three performances of Handel’s treasured masterwork, Messiah, in San Francisco’s resounding Grace Cathedral. Jeffrey Thomas will conduct the ABS period-instrument orchestra, the acclaimed American Bach Choir, and an outstanding quartet of soloists.

  • “What stood out above all, in this annual rite that drew a huge crowd, was the sense of being addressed directly, personally, confidingly. Conductor Jeffrey Thomas brought it all together, melding his ABS forces with precision and intuitive responsiveness to Handel’s capacious 1742 masterwork.” Steven Winn, SFCV 
Rebecca Powers, mezzo-soprano • Steven Brennfleck, tenor • Hadleigh Adams, baritone

Tuesday December 31 2019 4:00 p.m.
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Hadleigh Adams, baritone
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • At the end of last season’s enormously successful New Year’s Eve concert, ABS music director Jeffrey Thomas announced that we’d be back at the end of 2019 for a reprise of the event. It turned out to be one of the hottest tickets in town, so make your reservations early for a delightful program of arias and instrumental music from opera and concert. This early night on the town in San Francisco’s beautiful Herbst Theatre—a cornerstone and jewel among the city’s most prestigious venues—will joyfully ring in the New Year in elegant style. Bring your friends and celebrate a New Year full of wonderful music!

Our annual Subscription Series follows, January through May 2020. Now named the “Connoisseur Series,” it will provide opportunities for our audiences to delve deeper into the amazing repertoire of the Baroque era, offering the anticipation and excitement of works that may be less well-known than some, but that are spellbinding, enchanting, and powerful in their effectiveness. 

In 2020, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen will return as the solo artist in a program featuring Vivaldi, Bach, Buxtehude, Hoffmann, and Muffat. 

Heinrich Schütz’s deeply moving  Musikalische Exequien  will be performed alongside Bach’s magnificent “ Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit ” (Cantata 106) and vividly dramatic works by North German composers Bruhns, Buxtehude, and Weckmann. 

The season finale brings concerts of Bach’s fascinating Missa in A Major, a truly unique and imaginative work, and Handel’s setting of exquisite poetry by John Dryden, the  Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day , a tribute to the patron saint of music.


Friday January 24 2020 8:00 p.m.
St. Stephen’s Church, Belvedere
Saturday January 25 2020 7:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday January 26 2020 4:00 p.m.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Monday January 27 2020 7:00 p.m.
Davis Community Church, Davis

Vivaldi: Stabat Mater
J. C. Bach: Lamento  Ach dass ich Wassers gnug hätte
Hoffmann: Schlage doch
Buxtehude: Jubilate Deo
Bach: Concerto for Flute, Violin, Harpsichord in A Minor 
Muffat: Concerto Grosso No. 5 in G Major

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, countertenor
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • Ancient Greek mythology tells us that Orpheus, the legendary musician and poet whose music and singing could charm the birds, fish, and wild beasts, is said to have moved mountains, silenced rivers, and caused trees to bend so they could hear his playing upon the lyre. Named after Orpheus, these concerts present countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen in a program of deeply moving works that affect the soul from joyful compositions by Buxtehude and Hoffmann to Vivaldi’s brooding Stabat Mater, along with a stunning Bach triple concerto and the rich sonorities of Muffat’s Concerto Grosso. 

  • Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen “possesses a remarkable gift for intimate communication … combined with a voice of velvety gentleness.” - The New York Times
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, countertenor

Friday March 27 2020 8:00 p.m.
St. Stephen’s Church, Belvedere
Saturday March 28 2020 7:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday March 29 2020 4:00 p.m.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Monday March 30 2020 7:00 p.m.
Davis Community Church, Davis

Schütz:  Musikalische Exequien
Weckmann: Weine nicht Canzons
Bruhns:  Mein Herz ist bereit
Bach:  Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit , Cantata 106

Nola Richardson, soprano
James Reese, tenor (debut)
Jesse Blumberg & William Sharp, baritones
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • The Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser began one of his most cherished verses, “Faire is the heaven where happy soules have place in full enjoyment of felicitie.” Writers, painters, and composers would often evoke glimpses of the Paradise that could be found in the life beyond, an antidote to the troubled times that were experienced by so many in periods past. Heinrich Schütz’s serenely beautiful Musikalische Exequien draws upon texts from the Psalms, the Canticle of Simeon, Revelations, and the Book of Wisdom to illuminate the recognition of new life, including a dramatic effect of three spirits moving throughout the concert space. The exuberance of the vocal works by Bruhns and Weckmann, and Bach’s peaceful and uplifting Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit combine to make this a concert program of heavenly beauty.
Nola Richardson, soprano • James Reese, tenor • Jesse Blumberg, baritone

Friday May 8 2020 8:00 p.m.
St. Stephen’s Church, Belvedere
Saturday May 9 2020 7:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday May 10 2020 4:00 p.m.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Monday May 11 2020 7:00 p.m.
Davis Community Church, Davis

Bach: Missa in A Major
Handel:  Look Down, Harmonious Saint
Handel:  Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day

Aaron Sheehan, tenor
Mischa Bouvier, baritone
American Bach Soloists • American Bach Choir • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

  • Bach greatly admired the music of his forebears and was often criticized for his traditionalist approach to composition. Nevertheless, we find in Bach’s music many works that were forward-looking and innovative, favoring the Rococo and galant styles that were taking hold throughout Europe. The Missa in A Major is a curious amalgam of the traditional and contemporary, featuring a pair of a relatively “new” instrument on the scene, the flauto traverso. The Pythagorean theory of Harmonia Mundi, built on the premise that music was a central force in the creation of Earth, is given rapturous credence in Handel’s setting of the Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day, an exquisite Restoration period verse by John Dryden, England’s first Poet Laureate. 
Aaron Sheehan, tenor • Mischa Bouvier, baritone

San Francisco Conservatory of Music • 50 Oak Street
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church • 1111 O’Farrell Street
Grace Cathedral • 1100 California Street
Herbst Theatre • 401 Van Ness Avenue

BERKELEY (please note earlier starting times in Berkeley)
First Congregational Church • 2345 Channing Way

St. Stephen’s Church • 3 Bayview Avenue

Davis Community Church • 412 C Street

Summer Festival $20–$125 / (800) 595-4TIX (-4849)

Sparkle! Gala 
Please visit

Handel's Messiah in Grace Cathedral $25–$125 * / (800) 595-4TIX (-4849)

Connoisseur Series $38–$98 * / (800) 595-4TIX (-4849)

* Subscribers receive a 15% discount

A Baroque New Year’s Eve at the Opera $25–$125 / (415) 392-4400
Renowned for his experience, knowledge, and sensitivity for the music of the Baroque, Jeffrey Thomas’s preparation of the major works of the repertory such as Bach’s Mass in B Minor,  Saint Matthew Passion , and Handel’s  Messiah  have led to inspired, definitive performances that have become synonymous with the ensemble he has led with such distinction.  San Francisco Classical Voice  said, “Jeffrey Thomas is still pushing the musical Baroque envelope.” [ MORE ]
American Bach Soloists are leading performers in the field of Baroque music, dedicated to historically informed performances of Bach and his contemporaries. ABS provides meaningful, memorable, and valuable musical experiences for our audiences through inspiring performances and recordings, and it supports the preservation of early music through educational programs for students and emerging professionals. [ MORE ]
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