‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 114, No. 7July, 2014

Clockwise from top right: Jude Ziliak, Spiros Soukis, Robin Lynn Braun, Brian O'Neill

Clockwise from top right: Jude Ziliak, Spiros Soukis, Robin Lynn Braun, Brian O’Neill

I joined Local 802 because I got a gig that required it, with the wonderful Trinity Baroque Orchestra. My musical goal is to be a part of New York City’s rise as a center for historical performance. Last winter, I was very excited to join the American Bach Soloists in San Francisco for performances of “Messiah.” I was a student in their Academy last summer, and am thrilled to have graduated into the group itself. My principal instrument is Baroque violin. I play music from the late Renaissance through the mid-19th century on period equipment.

Jude Ziliak

The most important reason for me to join Local 802 was to be affiliated with all of the great musicians who live and work here in New York City, which is my adopted home base. I brought my signature “Rockin’ Blues with Greek Soul” here after leaving my native Athens, Greece. Being in the union will help me to meet other musicians, participate in different projects and expand my working schedule. Another major incentive to becoming a member was to have access to the Actors Federal Credit Union, which is a means of extricating myself from corporate banking. Through my live performances, recordings and social media, I aim for my music to reach as many people as possible. And through the classes I teach to guitar/music students of all levels, I help keep the music alive. As a regularly featured performer at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Lucille’s, I connect with blues lovers from all over the world. Many of them are followers of my long-running Rockin’ Blues blog about the life and adventures of a working musician who lives in Times Square, including the various venues where I play. Like my debut last year at Lincoln Center in the Rubenstein Atrium for the “Meet the Artist” concert series. And a fun gig at the Flushing Public Library, yet another of the city’s many amazing cultural institutions that supports live music. I look forward to continuing to compose, create, record and perform my music at clubs, concerts, festivals, private events, and for film and video. And to keep on teaching all my dedicated students who are an inspiration to me. My principal instruments are the electric guitar and my voice. I also play acoustic guitar, bass guitar, piano and harmonica.

Spiros Soukis

I joined Local 802 because, like many, I am interested in eventually subbing on Broadway, but beyond that, I am not entirely sure yet. I know that in NYC, there are certain opportunities only available to unionized musicians, so I decided to join. I want to perform and hang with some of the most talented musicians in the world while hopefully meeting some new friends in the process. I enjoy meeting like-minded and not-so-like-minded people who can broaden my perspectives and remind me there is always something new to learn (and in the percussionist’s case, some new ridiculous widget/holder/sound-making-gizmo to buy!) Last year, I led the big band version of my own group, Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica, in Berlin at the Wassermusik Festival. (We’re the only group in the world performing the lost music of Esquivel.) We also played in NYC for the Celebrate Mexico Now festival. I also played percussion (mostly riq/doumbek/tappan/pandeiro) with the Klezwoods and toured with David Wax Museum on a hybrid drumset/cajon/percussion setup. Last fall, I toured with the contemporary chamber group Cordis on piano and keyboards (and I got to play one electric guitar solo too). I consider myself a general percussionist in the broadest sense. I do play a pretty mean pandeiro solo though! I have backgrounds in orchestral work, jazz and many other genres.

Brian O’Neill

I joined Local 802 after I moved from Vancouver to New York and got asked to be a sub on the Broadway musical “Matilda.” My musical goal in NYC is to have a full-time position one day on Broadway. I also want to tour and collaborate with singer-songwriters, teach privately or at a music school, and be a respected versatile musician here in NYC. Some of my most recent gigs are subbing on “Matilda” and playing a week-long residency at 54 Below with Tony Award-winner Duncan Sheik. My principal instrument is violin.

Robin Lynn Braun