Ilana Blumberg Thomas
Since her professional solo debut at age fifteen, Ilana Blumberg Thomas has appeared across the United States and internationally. Highlights have included solo appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, the Albany Symphony (NY), Symphony Napa Valley and the Merced Symphony, as well as performances at the prestigious Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Marlboro Music Festival, the La Jolla Summerfest as a 'Rising Star', the Aspen Music Festival, and many others. Ms. Thomas was a three time fellowship award recipient at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was awarded the C.D. Jackson Memorial Prize for outstanding musicianship.
As an orchestral musician, Ms. Thomas served as the associate concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra in New York for seven seasons, including one as acting concertmaster and was a tenured member of the first violin section of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA) from 1996-2005. She also performed as a member of the NYC chamber orchestra Philharmonia Virtuosi, with whom she toured internationally.
She now holds the Associate Concertmaster chair with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Second Violin chair in Symphony Napa Valley and the Merced Symphony. She also appears frequently throughout the Bay Area with the Marin Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Berkeley Symphony, the Sacramento Philharmonic and the California Symphony. Current chamber music projects include regular performances as the first violinist in the Golden Gate String Quartet, with eco ensemble, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and collaborative projects with an array of distinguished colleagues, including members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.
Ms. Thomas' diverse interests are represented by her wide range of performance experiences; she played regularly in Broadway productions in New York City, including the original productions of Aida, The Producers, and the revival of The Bells are Ringing. She can be heard on the Broadway Cares benefit album "Home for the Holidays" and on the debut solo release by Broadway vocalist Lauren Kennedy, "Songs of Jason Robert Brown", among others. On five-string electric violin, she has recorded and performed with independent rock, blues, and country bands, and recently toured with indie vocalist Doe Eye. She has supported internationally renowned headline acts such as Luciano Pavarotti, Sarah Brightman, Third Eye Blind, and Eric Clapton and appeared on Bob Weir's live national webcast from Tri Studios in Marin. Her extensive recording experience has included projects for numerous labels, including Deutsche Grammophon, Argo, and Albany Records, Wynton Marsalis' award-winning educational series "Marsalis on Music", for film, and for the Nickelodeon cartoon, "The Backyardigans".
As an educator, Ms. Thomas has taught private violin lessons to students of all ages and levels for over twenty five years, served as an adjunct faculty member at the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany, regularly assists as a coach and instructor at U.C Berkeley and has conducted clinics and coaching sessions at music schools across the country.
Ms. Thomas began her violin studies at age two in Berkeley, CA. Her musical education continued at the Crowden School, then at the San Francisco Conservatory Preparatory Program and the Oberlin Conservatory. She currently resides with her two children in El Cerrito, CA, where her other passions include distance running, writing, and cooking.