“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

“…music has long been trickling out of traditional concert halls and into cooler, more contemporary watering holes. Hosted by the music blog GetClassical, this concert series hits a sweet spot in the art-filled Rose Bar {and other newly initiated concert venues] with a feel that’s downtown Manhattan by way of 19th century Paris salon…its variety show atmosphere is known to draw audience members to the stage. And quite a variety show it can lead to, given that {some of} the last installment’s couches were filled with musicians ranging from arty Juilliard students to Carnegie darling Evgeny Kissin.”

Harper’s BazaarHot List, June 2013


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 . (Since 2008) Soon thereafter, Ilona started her English blog ‘GetClassical’ and her German blog, ‘Wohltemperiert aus New York,’ and began writing for Naxos Deutschland, and various online publications including Classical Post, as well as the contemporary outfit Sequenza21. Since 2012, Ilona is a member of MCANA ( Music Critics Association of North America) and has 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. Her article on the Taubman Technique was featured as a special guest post on Jessica Duchen’s famed London based blog site and her many profiles of artists reside on their respective sites.

Building alliances with international performers and talent agencies alike, GetClassical has further become synonymous with artist collaborations in salon-style concerts, with the intent to create a new audience base and fans for the young performers. Recognizing early on the magnetism of varied spaces for the classical genre, GetClassical has produced concert events in NYC since May 2012, with programmed and some surprise guest artists. Varied locations included events at the Gramercy Park Hotel’s Rose Bar, India House, Opera America, Yamaha,  Louis Meisel Gallery, Le Poisson Rouge as well as a monthly classical music series at Zinc Bar. Many of them broadcast by WWFM, the classical radio station. Recently events at Union Arts Center in Sparkill , the German Consulate General, Klavierhaus and St.John’s in the Village and its Revelation Gallery were added.

Since 2018, Ilona was also chosen as a member of the jury at different piano competitions, the Piano School of New York City, the Tsai Performance Center Concerto Competition at Boston University, the Philadelphia based Young Pianists’ Academy and the George Gershwin International Competition.


GetClassical is honored to have formed a partnership with the Vendome Prize at the Verbier Festival.





Finding GetClassical among the venerable Artistic Partners of the Vendome Prize is an outstanding and humbling endorsement and we are delighted to seek out opportunities for the chosen artists of the Vendome Prize, who would like to come to New York City and start building an audience base. Beyond a concert opportunity, GetClassical will aim to connect international guest artists within a social framework of colleagues, peers and industry leaders. On January 20th/ 2020, GetClassical presents the 2019 Vendome Prize Winner Daumants Lepiens at Opera America in concert and interview and following industry roundtable:

Since 2019, GetClassical embarks on a new passion project with GetClassical In School, bringing charismatic performing artists into the classroom and new audiences into the concert hall. To build on the momentum in the classroom, collaborations with concert series like Frank Salomon’s People’s Symphony Concerts, the Aspect Chamber Music Series, Eurasia Festival and our own concert series at St. John’s in the Village, will invite school kids – previously visited by our artists, to a full concert.

Inspired by the German “Rhapsody in School,” GetClassical in School was invited to host its Benefit event this November at the German Consulate General, with the international concert pianist and Rubinstein Competition winner Ching-Yun Hu.

16 Years old Ambassador for GIS, pianist Adam Jackson and Concert Pianist Ching-Yun Hu visit the Rabbi A. Schneier Park East Day School (Photo Credit: Overtone Productions LLC)

We started with single visits to Public Schools in the Bronx and currently cater selected performing artists to our two school residencies, one at a private (Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School) and one at a public school (Stuyvesant High School) in NYC and we are reaching out to new schools in the NYC metropolitan area.

(photo: Violinist Irene Abrigo and pianist Albert Cano Smit visit Stuyvesant High School)


For schools that do not feature a piano, we formed a partnership with KLAVIERHAUS, letting our fantastic pianists shine in an intimate environment, among its great instruments.

Here with master pianist and educator Pavel Nersessian for the Middle School class trip of the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School .

GetClassical is a LLC in partnership with THE FIELD’s fiscal sponsorship for its related fund raising activities, offering Tax Deduction to interested sponsors.  All Activities for the new initiative GetClassical In School are non-for profit through this fiscal sponsorship. We count on your tax deductible support  –  please use the linked “The Field” button.

Please scroll down to the GIS section to read more about GetClassical In School and our Artistic and Pedagogical Advisory that includes NYC Performing Arts Education Advocate Rachel Shapiro, the Director of the Irving S.Gilmore International Keyboard and Awards, Pierre Van Der Westhuizen, and Conductor, Music Director and Distinguished Professor of Music, Gerard Schwarz, former concert master of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Glenn Dicterow, as well as the iconic pianist and pedagogue, mentor of superstar pianists and former Director of the Curtis Institute of Music, Gary Graffman.

“GetClassical In School is a wonderful idea, I like the initiative very much. Its a special experience to bring live music and performers to the kids into the classroom. The energy can make for a powerful impact and inspire kids to love classical music and to find out more about it. Congratulations.”

Martha Argerich


Finding GetClassical among the venerable Artistic Partners of the Vendome Prize is an outstanding honor and we are delighted to seek out opportunities for the chosen artists of the Vendome Prize, who would like to come to New York City...

With a surge in concert offerings in the city that never sleeps, convoyed by less media coverage, audiences’ informed choices of which artist to follow and what performance to attend, are limited. GetClassical Recommends on Facebook seeks to fill that gap and help to spread the word and access (with discounted tickets) in support of new talent and concert series’ programs that are geared to live up to high expectations.



Get Classical in School

Many students are not exposed to the great classical music that is part of our heritage.

We believe passionately in this music and want to share our love of it with the next generation.

We bring charismatic, professional instrumentalists and singers, who are accomplished musicians and communicative educators to your school.

Through sharing our wonderful music, we teach collaboration, cultural history, and a taste of foreign languages, addressing the inherent elements of performing: mutual respect, self-confidence and emotional expressiveness.

We make classical music both educational and fun.

Ilona Oltuski/GetClassical and the initiative GetCassical In School is a sponsored artist with The Performance Zone Inc (dba The Field), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the performing arts community.

Contributions to The Field earmarked for Ilona Oltuski / Get Classical are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about The Field, or for our national charities registration, contact: The Field, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 906 New York, NY 10038, phone: 212-691-6969.


"I wholeheartedly support GetClassical In School's efforts as critical in our national drive to inspire the next generation of music lovers and enthusiasts. Childhood is an age of exploration and wonder, and I can't think of a better way to develop a child's curiosity than a hands-on approach such as this. Bravo, and I look forward to seeing this wonderful initiative develop!"

- Pierre Van Der WesthuizenDirector of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards, Artistic Advisory Board GetClassical In School

"We in the Emerson String Quartet applaud the mission of GetClassical In School to bring great music to both public and private schools throughout the New York metropolitan area. Classical music has a well-proven beneficial effect on young people's intellectual, emotional and social development. In an era when arts education in public schools has undergone frequent budget cuts, and when the classical arts have a hard time competing with the massive commercial reach of popular culture, it's more important than...

- Emerson String QuartetString Quartet, Educators

“Never before has it been more important to our society to reinstate music and art back into our primary educational system. GetClassical In School fills the void that our government has failed to offer our next generation. Music is as essential as the air we breathe: It is what makes us human.”

- Glenn DicterowViolinist, Educator, Former Concert Master New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Pedagogical Advisory Board GetClassical In School

GetClassical In School is a wonderful idea, I like the initiative very much. Its a special experience to bring live music and performers to the kids into the classroom. The energy can make for a powerful impact and inspire kids to love classical music and to find out more about it. Congratulations.

- Martha ArgerichPianist

I salute Ilona’s initiative to introduce GetClassical In School, bringing classical music into the classroom. Sparking enthusiasm through personal encounters with charismatic performers will serve the next generation, bringing the joy of music into their lives.

- Evgeny KissinPianist

As a composer and manager at Naxos of America, I applaud Ilona Oltuski and her efforts to bring classical music to the genre’s future audience. Music education is central to what we do each and every day, and many arts organizations pay only a glancing acknowledgement of its importance. New York may boast a lot of wonderful things, but age-appropriate learning modules for the enjoyment of classical music – how it works, who are its practitioners – are largely missing...

- Sean HickeyComposer, Senior Vice-President, NAXOS OF AMERICA, INC.

“Music, more than any other art form, has the capacity to endow all of us, and especially young people, with the ability to transcend any challenges of present circumstance to conceive of – and ultimately attain – the brightest, happiest, most beautiful future of our dreams. I am honored to take part in GetClassical In School’s vital mission to foster inspiration that can broaden children’s horizons and propel them to achieve their full potential.” Yours with excitement, Jonathan DePeri

- Jonathan DePeriFounder and Artistic Director of Gotham Arts, Leadership Committee Member GetClassical In School

It is my pleasure to endorse Ilona Oltuski 's important initiative GetClassical In School. During my many years as an educator of young talent, I have seen firsthand how terrific it is to inspire youth to build a lifetime with music. With best wishes for continued success for you and GetClassical In School.

- Gary GraffmanPianist, Pedagogue, Pedagogical Advisory Board for GetClassical In School

Dear Ilona, I wish you great success with your new project GetClassical In School and I am very happy to be included as an artistic advisor.

- Gerard SchwarzConductor, Educator, Artistic Advisory Board GetClassical In School

What is GetClassical all about?


Ilona Oltuski has devoted herself tirelessly to broadening the audience for classical music by presenting exciting concerts in intimate, innovative New York venues. Her GetClassical series has featured established sought-after artists as well as emerging new talents. A prolific writer, she has spotlighted both prominent artists as well as anticipated stars of tomorrow in interesting interviews on her blog. llona's impeccable taste, comprehensive knowledge of music and strong contacts within the industry, has ensured success in her many endeavors. She...

- Edna LandauWriter, Consulting Educator, Artist Management

Among the best writers and interviewers proudly stands Ilona Oltuski and her GetClassical blog. She quickly gets to the point of an interview with her musical background and inquisitive 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.

- Lucille Chung and Alessio BaxPianists

It has been a pleasure to be interviewed by Ilona Oltuski in New York. She is well-informed, curious and intelligent. She cares deeply about the state of music in our society and also about the fate of young musicians.

- Sir Andras SchiffConcert pianist and Educator and Curator

My manager and I loved your article and thought it was one of the best we have ever read. It's on my website now.

- Yuja WangPianist

Dear Ilona, Thank you for making time for the interview. It was absolutely a joy to dive with you into my artistic journey and to feel so welcomed by your warmth, knowledge and personality. What I thought would be another 'casual' interview became a two hours fun and friendly discussion that magically - by you - brought out all I had to say and more, thank you, Amit

- Amit Peled, cellist

I had such a great time chatting with Ilona over dinner in Berlin. She is one of the warmest and funniest journalists I have ever had the pleasure of working with, without losing focus on the things that matter. Her articles are informative, entertaining and at the same time founded on a deep understanding of classical music and it's business. I wish "GetClassical" all the very best!

- Filip Pogady, violinist

I had an engaging, wide-ranging conversation with Ilona that touched on many important and interesting topics, often overlooked in interview. Her perceptive questions are informed by her unique insight, knowledge and understanding. All of this came across beautifully written, in the wonderful, interesting profile she wrote. A big Thank You to GetClassical!

- Nicolas Namoradzepianist, composer, transcriber

A big thanks to Ilona and Get Classical for the wonderful in-depth article about our work! This included our new work: Breath & Hammer II- The Ties that Bind Us for the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, as well as coverage of the From Shtetl to Stage concert at Carnegie Hall as part of the Migrations Series. It is rare today to see a writer who will delve so deeply into a story and look at multiple levels of connection-...

- David Krakauer & Kathleen TaggClarinetist and Piano Duo
  • 🎹 Reserve your tickets today for this exclusive event: Bit.ly/306YCAe
  • Michael Bulychev-Okser @ Stuyvesant Highschool
  • Lots to talk about.. .concert and following panel on: Piano Competitions in the digital age ...
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  • Happy Chanukah , with the one and only Martha, performing with the IPO in Tel Aviv under the new baton of Lahav Shani, who commented on how free she plays - and the energy she exudes .
#israel #israelphilarmonicorchestra #lahavshani #marthaargerich #beethoven Hichal hatarbut.  #artistsinsupport of #GetClassicalInSchool
  • Tonight IPO
  • Roundtable and Networking event on January 20th, at Opera America . Thanks to our new partnership with the Vendome Prize, GetClassical presents Daumants Lepiens, 2019 winner of the prestigious competition at the Verbier Festival in concert and interview with Szolt Bognar, host of Living the Classical Life and following  with an exciting industry leader’s roundtable on competitions in the digital age . Facebook/eventbrite  tickets only !
  • Our school trip visit at Klavierhaus with Pavel Nersessian for GetClassical In School