Multimedia Projects (starting from most recent)

Electroacoustic Collaborations with Young Composers

(Seattle Symphony; Young Composers Initiative June 2024)

Cabins and Hideouts (November 2023)

Two Octave 9 performances with Lauri Porra and members of Seattle Symphony

Bassist-composer Lauri Porra’s Cabins & Hideouts is a meditative work that takes listeners to the forest, lake and summer cottage. Described as a combination of concert and sound bath, the work includes the sounds of nature (finch and Kuika birdsong) paired with orchestral instruments. Cabins & Hideouts is his attempt to capture the atmosphere experienced at a cabin, in the middle of the woods, and depict a day-long arc from morning to night and to the next sunrise into a soundscape that could be shared in concert settings.

Solo Recital on King FM/National Public Radio;

August 2023 Seattle, WA

Music and Art in Conversation

(September 2023) at the Guilford Performing arts Festival in CT)

Performance featuring spoken word (Alexa Fitzpatrick), music (Ilana Zaks), and mingling with the Guilford Art League’s 75th Annual Exhibition at the Guilford Art Center.

The Sounds of New England (September 2023) Guilford, CT

A six-movement work featuring collected sounds and melodies from low-income and under-resourced communities in the Northeast. The piece was performed live on the 2023 Guilford Performing Arts Festival Soundstage. Featuring solo violin, loop pedal, composed and improvised music interwoven with music and other sounds of the communities I visited. The idea was inspired by the work of Hungary’s Bela Bartok and Connecticut’s Charles Ives, whose discoveries and incorporation of folk and regional music into their compositions made them some of the most innovative and important composers of the early 20th century. My intent was to draw attention to, elevate and honor some of the poorest communities in the six states of New England, through music, collected sound and melodies, and improvisation.

“Refugio Nuevo” (2023) remix for the Yale Tango Club

in collaboration with Uruguayan PhD ‘22 candidate in Ecology at Yale University and a NASA Future Investigator, Diego Ellis Soto. Made of cutting edge technologies used for identifying and conserving species to create ‘place based’ music by making the birds sing a song, we combined everyday sounds captured by game cameras, and were provided with information on how many species used the Yale farm as a habitat throughout the year or throughout the migratory journeys. The song, "Refugio Nuevo", is made up of the collection of these sounds on top of the harmonies of the popular tango classic "La Cumparsita", and violin improvisation. 

“The Colorful Library” (2022)

with Yale School of Art Graphic Design Artist, Filip Birkner MFA ‘23, featuring live improvisation, motion capture, and stop motion film,“The Colorful Library”. Read the feature in Yale Library News.

DECEMBER 10th 2022: The History of Audience Interaction in Classical Music PERFORMANCE INSTALLATION featuring wearable technology, Videogame design, animation, and film at Yale University.  

Music composed by Aaron Levin

Video Game by Jack Wesson

November 25- December 4th 2022- Cortex Collective Installation

PLAY- Center of Collaborative Arts and Media

“Play” (2022)

In conclusion to Zaks’ 2021-2022 Blended Reality Fellowship at the Yale Center of the Collaborative Arts and Media, she directed an original show, PLAY in collaboration with 2x Olympic rhythmic gymnast Laura Zeng, filmmaker Olivia Charis, projection designer Sasha Semina, lighting designer Corinne Evans, and jazz vocalist Theodora 'Teddy’ Horangic. The performance featured live improvisation inspired by music of Aleksey Igudesman, Piazzolla’s Tango Etude #3 alongside an original film and optical illusion visuals inspired by Brigit Riley, an artist currently on exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art.

“The Intermedial Performer” (2021)

As part of the Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media studio fellowship, Ilana Zaks presents this series of short films,  "The Intermedial Performer."
Over the course of five months, she explored the relationship between music and performance art, across four technological collaborations. The film itself was edited entirely remotely in 2021 by Samuel Vladimirsky .

Music and collaborations featured include:

  • The Fiddler (inspired by the musical, arranged for solo violin by Ilana Zaks) with a Virtual Reality simulation created by Yale Architecture ‘22 graduate Rishab Jain.

  • STOMP composed by John Corigliano, interlaced with montage footage

  • Red Hands composed by Lila Meretzky, dance and choreography created by Haven Herrin

  • Shadow Steps for violin, tape and fixed media by Patrick Long, with selected text by Carl Jung.

The Persistence of Memory (2017-2020)

The Persistence of Memory (2020), is the first ever classical music visual album released on Amazon Prime worldwide. This dual compilation of film and album featured three commissions for violin and percussion and three solo violin works in collaboration with dance, digital art, spoken word, animation, fashion and film. The visual album's central theme is the equality of art forms, and expression, and ultimately, the equality of all human beings. I was inspired by thinking of the interdisciplinary art forms as a 'family' and therefore a community—the community of the arts. With this film, a new community is formed, and essentially, the viewer is taken through the journey towards that realization


Album Review: Full album

Watch the full film

Flying Forward (2020- postponed due to COVID)

Originally to have been presented by Boston’s New England Conservatory at the Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theater, Flying Forward will be a 50 minute documentary premiere screening followed by an innovative and interactive 30 minute dance premiere performance of Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto with soloist Ilana Zaks, the Kairos Dance Theater, an all female-identifying orchestra comprising of Boston based college musicians and live digital art. This will be followed by a 15 minute intermission. Following the production, there will be a 15 minute Q and A period with the entire team.

The Film: The 50 minute film documentary focuses on the empowerment of women in the classical music, electronic production, film and dance industry giving women around Boston a chance to display their impeccable talents. The film is about the “making of” the final performance with perspectives on gender disparity and career wisdom from the team and from interviewees.

Recital at New England Conservatory (2019)

Featuring works by Schubert, Debussy, Bartok, Alexander Rosenblatt, Lera Auerbach (collaboration with dancer Laura Coe), Austin Smith’s Ruminations (2019, premiere for violin and percussion) and Lila Quillin’s Love Triangle alongside animation created by the composer.

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