ViolinJeff Thayer


Deborah Pate and John Forrest Chair

Violinist Jeff Thayer holds the Deborah Pate and John Forrest Concertmaster Chair of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Thayer is also a founding member of the Camera Lucida chamber music ensemble, in residence at UCSD’s Conrad Prebys Music Center. Previous positions include assistant concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, associate concertmaster of the North Carolina Symphony and concertmaster of the Canton (OH) Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Thayer was also formerly on the violin faculty of the Music Academy of the West where he also served as concertmaster for 13 years. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. His teachers include Zvi Zeitlin, Donald Weilerstein, Dorothy DeLay and William Preucil.

A native of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Mr. Thayer began violin lessons with his mother at the age of three. At 14 he studied for a year at the Conservatorio Superior in Cordoba, Spain. He has appeared as soloist with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Jupiter Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, the Pierre Monteux School Festival Orchestra, the Spartanburg Philharmonic, the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra, The Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra, the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, the Nittany Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Conservatory Orchestra of Cordoba, among others. He attended Keshet Eilon (Israel), Ernen Musikdorf (Switzerland), Music Academy of the West, Aspen, New York String Orchestra Seminar, the Quartet Program, and as the 1992 Pennsylvania Governor Scholar, Interlochen Arts Camp. Other festivals include Interlochen, the Pierre Monteux Festival, Astoria Music Festival, the National Orchestral Institute, the National Youth Symphony, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Astoria Music Festival, Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, Mainly Mozart Festival (San Diego), Festival der Zukunft and the Tibor Varga Festival (Switzerland).

Mr. Thayer’s awards include the Stephen Hahn/Lillybelle Foundation Award in Violin from the Music Academy of the West, the Starling Foundation Award, the George Eastman Scholarship and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Mr. Thayer was a laureate of the Wieniawski Violin Competition (2001) as well as winner of various competitions, including the Tuesday Musical Club Scholarship Auditions in Akron, OH (2000), the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition (1999), the Fort Collins Symphony Young Artist Competition (1999), the American String Teacher’s Association Competition in Pennsylvania and Delaware (1997), the Gladys Comstock Summer Scholarship Competition (1993), the Ithaca College Solo Competition and the Phyllis Triolo Competition (1992).

Through a generous gift to the SDSO from Joan and Irwin Jacobs and the Jacobs' Family Trust, Jeff Thayer performs on the 1708 "Bagshawe" Stradivarius.


Q: How did you choose your instrument?

A: First, my Mom chose the violin when I was only 3 years old and then I fell in love with it.

Q: What are two of your favorite movies?

A: The Shining and The Shawshank Redemption

Q: What is your favorite travel destination?

A: Anywhere that I haven’t previously explored.

Q: What are your favorite composers and/or musical periods?

A: Whatever I’m working on at the time!

Q: What good book have you read lately?

A: Short Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Q: What is your choice for dining in San Diego?

A: Café Chloe, downtown

Q: Where might you find me on a Saturday night if I’m not performing with the Symphony?

A: At home, cooking.

Q: The San Diego Symphony is essential to San Diego because…?

A: Any great city of the world has strong cultural outlets, and a symphony is an integral part of the fabric of that city.