“Ilona is a true music lover… a musical warrior working in the trenches to create new avenues for fan and artist to come together. Ilona has earned respect and admiration for her work in the New York music scene to create a new kind of intimate artist/fan concert experience. We share a common vision with Ilona in her desire to bring artists and fans closer. We salute Ilona Oltuski… a true piano lover dedicated to making a difference Bravo!”
Richard WatermanReal Piano Music.com
Born in Berlin and growing up in Frankfurt, Germany, Ilona was always interested in the creative fields of dance, music and the arts. Studying Art History at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University and piano at the Hoch’sche Conservatory, founded by Clara Schumann, culture and its historic and current correlation with society were at the core of her investigative efforts for the Historic Museum and the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt. Her dissertation on the Bezalel School in Jerusalem, was published as the first publication of its kind on Jewish Art, as part of the University’s press series. After moving to New York with her husband, Ilona continued to pursue the piano, her favorite instrument, and in doing so met and befriended many pianists ranging from various levels of amateur to professional players. Through conversations with these musicians, Ilona – a passionate amateur herself – made her reentry into the writing world by sharing her experiences, quest, and lust for piano playing with the public, and composed her first articles on blogcritics.org . Soon thereafter, Ilona started her German blog, ‘Wohltemperiert aus New York,’ and began writing for Naxos Deutschland , which she still continues to do. In print, Ilona has also written for Listen Magazine, Jűdische Allgemeine Zeitung and for the German PianoNews Magazine; her article on pianist Inon Barnatan was published in a collection of articles in Staccato Verlag’s “Gespräche mit Pianisten” in 2017. Her blog was selected “as blog of the month” by Gramophone.
Since May 2012, Ilona has been producing salon-style concerts with the intention of creating a space for classical music in New York City’s nightlife. GetClassical has produced salon events at Gramercy Park Hotel’s Rose Bar and India House, Yamaha and Louis Meisel Gallery, LPR and since October 2014, a classical music series at Zinc Bar, with programmed artists and some surprise guest artists. This year brings new collaborations with the Union Arts Center to Sparkill, New York.
For 2019, Ilona was chosen as a member of the jury at two different piano competitions.
2019 GetClassical will also embark on a new experience, partnering with the European initiative Rhapsody in School, bringing artists into the classroom and new audiences into the concert hall.
What is GetClassical all about?
ARTISTS’ SHOUT OUTS
When I first became aware of Ilona Oltuski’s GetClassical series, I wondered if perhaps here was a kindred spirit. Now, as a frequent reader of her discerning journalism and a follower of her concerts, I am truly impressed with her devotion to musicians, her intelligent and informed writing, and her infectious enthusiasm. She is not only an ally in the arts, but also a role model.
Ilona, I was so happy with your exceptional article about Young Concert Artists.. You captured every iota of the spirit of the organization in an articulate and warm way. It is fun to come to your events too -\ off the beaten track and yet fully connected to the spirit of great music. All best Susan
We were thrilled to see Orpheus so accurately represented by GetClassical.org in Ilona’s wonderfully thorough and sensitively written blogpost. It’s rare to be interviewed by someone like Ilona—someone who comes in already intimately acquainted with the culture of Orpheus, an interviewer who “gets” what we do and whose questions come from a place of genuine curiosity about what we do—past, present and future. GetClassical.org is the perfect vehicle for the 21st century music lover and musician.
"It was such a pleasure talking to Ilona and having an interview that was as exhaustive and intelligent as it was readable and entertainingly written. Music journalism is becoming a rare art and it's nice to know it is in good hands."
I have had the great pleasure to see first hand the remarkable work Ilona does presenting concerts, interviewing artists and writing about music. Her musical knowledge is extensive and her charm and brillance are always apparent in her writing on musical subjects and her interaction with artists. She is very special in so many ways, but it is especially gratifying to have a real music lover producing concerts and reporting on music.
Among the best writers and interviewers proudly stands Ilona Oltuski. She quickly gets to the point of an interview with her musical background and inquisituve mind. At the same time she offers a special and unique angle to any article she writes. Being interviewed by her is always a comfortable and inspiring process.