The Jeffrey Thomas Award is granted annually at the Artistic Director’s discretion to honor, recognize, and encourage exceptionally gifted emerging professionals in the field of early music who show extraordinary promise and accomplishment. Inaugurated in 2013, the Jeffrey Thomas Award was created by the American Bach Soloists in celebration of their first 25 years of presenting performances in Northern California, across the United States, and around the world, and ABS Artistic & Music Director Jeffrey Thomas’s tenure of inspired leadership.
Jude Ziliak—the recipient of the 2018 award—is a violinist who specializes in historical performance practices. His dedication to the Baroque violin family extends from performing on the lira da braccio to premiering new pieces for period instruments.
Mr. Ziliak has been a member of the American Bach Soloists since the beginning of the organization’s 25th season in 2013, having first come to the attention of ABS and Jeffrey Thomas as a participant in the 2012 ABS Academy. In New York City, he is a member of the Renaissance music ensemble named Sonnambula and the Clarion Music Society. He has also performed with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants at the Festival dans les Jardins de William Christie, the Four Nations Ensemble, Cantata Profana, Musica Angelica, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, Gotham Chamber Opera, Concert Royal, New York Baroque Incorporated, New Vintage Baroque, and many other period ensembles throughout the United States and internationally. He has served as concertmaster under conductors Richard Egarr at the Britten-Pears School, Jordi Savall with Juilliard415, Andrew Litton at the National Orchestral Institute, and for R.B. Schlather’s pioneering production of Handel’s Alcina at WhiteBox Art Center in New York. With Sonnambula, he took part in the first complete recording of the music of Leonora Duarte.
Mr. Ziliak is also an independent scholar and a dedicated educator and is on the faculty of the Lucy Moses School and Special Music School (P.S. 859), New York’s public school for musically gifted children, where he has established a Baroque performance program with the support of an outreach grant from Early Music America. In 2017 he taught at the Madison Early Music Festival at the University of Wisconsin.
Jude Ziliak studied the modern violin with Bayla Keyes at Boston University, Dona Lee Croft at the Royal College of Music, and Kenneth Goldsmith at Rice University. He then completed specialized studies in Historical Performance at The Juilliard School, where his teachers were Monica Huggett and Cynthia Roberts. He was an inaugural recipient of the English Concert’s American Fellowship, which recognizes early-career performers “who appear likely to make significant contributions to the field of early music.” Raised in Sewanee, Tennessee, Mr. Ziliak resides in New York City with his wife, gambist Elizabeth Weinfield.
Now a regular member of ABS, Mr. Ziliak has already appeared in more than 50 performances of 15 concert programs. His next featured role will be as soloist in Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major for Violin and Two Orchestras at the 2017 Annual ABS Gala. Additionally, he will serve as concertmaster for ABS’s upcoming recording of Bach’s Four Orchestral Suites.
The Jeffrey Thomas Award takes its place within the organization’s already robust and long history of rewarding young talent. In 1998, the American Bach Soloists established their International Young Artists Competition as a way to foster emerging musicians who wish to pursue a career in early music. In 2006, the competition was named the American Bach Soloists & Henry I. Goldberg International Young Artists Competition, in memory of Dr. Henry I. Goldberg, who served as Board President for the ensemble from 2002 until September 2005. In addition, the First Prize was named in honor of the inestimable legacy of Laurette Goldberg, a leading force in the Bay Area’s early music community for many years. To ensure the broadest scope in this endeavor, from year to year the competitions focused on different instruments, attracting musicians from around the globe. The first competition, in 1998, was for harpsichord. In subsequent years, violin, flute, oboe, and vocalists took the spotlight. In 2010, competition award funds were offered as a Goldberg Prize to three promising participants of the American Bach Soloists ACADEMY, an advanced training program for emerging professionals and accomplished students of Historically Informed Performance Practice. In 2011, the Competition and special prizes were suspended in favor of funding scholarships for the Academy.
Read More about the Jeffrey Thomas Award