‘Zaks’ technical command certainly shines through this work and throughout the entire album, but she blossoms in her pathos and commitment to this new sound world of delicious contrasts.’
-The Classical Post on the 2020 visual album, The Persistence of Memory
‘More than just a terrific violinist; she is a thinker and an innovator.’
-Ani Kavafian, professor in the practice of violin at the Yale School of Music.
Jewish-American violinist and member of the Seattle Symphony, Ilana Zaks has been described as “fearless, refreshing and commanding” (Boston Music Intelligencer) and “captivating and delightful”(Worcester Telegram). She has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and as a soloist, with the Boston Civic Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, Pioneer Valley Symphony, Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Nashua Chamber Orchestra, Wellesley Symphony, Brockton Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Symphony, Arlington Philharmonic, Cape Cod Symphony, Symphony Pro Musica, and Thayer Symphony Orchestra.
At the age of eleven, Ilana had her symphonic debut with the Boston Civic Symphony under the conductorship of Maestro Max Hobart. In October of 2013, Ilana had the privilege to be a featured soloist with Boston Civic at the Jordan Hall in Boston and in the summer of 2012, at the Boston Hatch Shell. Other notable appearances have included performing on the stages of Symphony Hall and Harvard University's Sanders Theater in Boston, Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Benaroya Hall, Powell Hall in St Louis, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Berliner Philharmonie, The Concertgebouw, Rudolfinum, Granada Festival, Valladolid National Concert hall and Smetana Hall.
Originally from Boston, Ilana Zaks began playing the violin at the age of three, and studied with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in violin performance and minor in liberal arts. She later received her Master’s degree in music from Yale where she studied with Ani Kavafian. An alumna of the Perlman Music Program, Ilana studied with Itzhak Perlman for 7 years. Her other mentors include concertmasters David Kim and Jorga Fleezanis.
Ilana’s many honors include the Yale University Broadus Earle Prize for Outstanding Violinists (2022), Yale Women Faculty Forum Seed Grant (2022), Ravel Competition in Fontainebleau, France (2022), BMOP Concerto Competition (2020), featured performer for Celebrity Series’ Concert for One (2019), New England Conservatory Entrepreneurial Musician Grant Winner (2018), and featured performer on the National Public Radio Program “From the Top” (2014).
Zaks enjoys curating musical experiences that feature multidisciplinary collaborations, the inclusion of works by underrepresented composers, and works she commissions from living composers. In Spring 2018, she commissioned four composers to write pieces for Violin and Percussion which resulted in the first ever classical music Visual Album,ThePersistence of Memory(2020), available on Amazon Prime.
In addition to playing chamber music and collaborating with individual artists of all disciplines, Ilana enjoys and seeks collaborations with cultural centers, dance companies (ballet, tap, hip hop, modern, dance theater, tango, swing, ballroom, contemporary); comedy groups (sketch, stand up, improvisation); theater companies (experimental, Shakespearean, jazz ensembles, fashion designers; visual artists (photographers, painters, collage, mixed media artists, digital, projection designers, lighting designers); athletes (artistic and rhythmic gymnasts, ice dancers); chefs and vineyards, educational farms; writers (spoken word, poets, novelists, memoirists, journalists, academics); medical professionals (research, public health outreach projects), software engineers, designers and architects (AR, AI, VR, video game design) and more.