Get Classical in School

“I am very happy to endorse Ilona Oltuski’s very important initiative GetClassical In School. It inspires the next generation with great performers, in the classroom. It is critical groundwork, much needed to implement the kind of continuing music education that we do at the Lang Lang International Music Foundation across the country.

I support this wonderful project with all my heart.
I wish Ilona and her team to grow and reach many kids in the country.
All the best,”
Lukas Barwinski-Brown

Chief Executive Officer Lang Lang Foundation

GetClassical In School – Inspiring the next generation through personal encounters in the classroom.

GetClassical’s international musicians believe that a one-on-one connection in the classroom will spark a lasting impression and enthusiasm for classical music and ultimately initiate curiosity for life.

(PHOTOS: Katrin Bulke, soprano, at Kappa High School Bronx, Jessica Osborne, pianist and Magdalena Filipczak at Stuyvesant Highschool, Pavel Nersessian, pianist/professor at Schooltrip to Klavierhaus, Mark Prihodko, cellist at our second school residency, at Stuyvesant Highschool.

PHOTO and VIDEO (by Hilan Warshaw, Overtone Productions LLC) : school visit at the Rabbi Schneier Park East Day School, as part of our artistic residency this season with the school. Concert Pianist Ching-Yun Hu and GetClassical In School ambassador Adam Jackson are engaging the Middle School children in a first personal encounter. ( 9-25-19)

Students are motivated to engage in conversations about different styles in music, classical and contemporary composers, the art of practicing, and through GetClassical’s highly interactive sessions and performances, tune in to listen more carefully and can ask a multitude of questions surrounding the artists’ lives and mission.

We at GetClassical In School believe that every student should have the chance to experience the splendor of classical music, regardless of whether the school can afford to implement an academic music curriculum. We bring performers to both public and private schools in the greater New York City and metropolitan area.

The personal interaction with the kids is a decisive element of our encounters. All questions are valid. We aim to extrapolate shared experiences in the music and bring them into real life. Making music together is much like forming a special friendship; independent of all barriers, language, age, nationality, or gender.

We recommend a range of options to deepen the student’s experience:

Storytelling with artist…. (Grades K-4)

Artists perform short musical pieces, creating a musical narrative, while collaborating with the students on generating a story.

  • Short, exciting performances of selections of repertoire
  • Introduction to instrument(s)
  • Quiz /guided question-and-answer session
  • participation between groups

Musical Conversations (Grades 5-12)

Artists offer “Musical Conversations,” a broader and personal look at the repertoire – demonstrating the personal/emotional connection between performer and composer, with stylistically different compositions.

  • Personalized introduction
  • Exciting performances of selections from the artist'(s’) repertoire.
  • Reflecting on collaborative experience, relating it to any other form of collaboration.
  • Discussion about music types (chamber music, orchestral, solo)
  • Exploring differences and similarities in repertoire
  • Pointing out the difference of a communal experience ( in a concert performance) versus individual experiences. Analyzing the role of the listener and the performer; correlating the symbiotic dependency of sharing the emotional connection in other life situations.
  • discussion about careers in music
  • Open question-and-answer session

GetClassical’s artists are expertly trained to perform and many teach at the highest level and have built their careers not only as performing artists but cultural ambassadors and educators, bringing their own personal flavor to the universal language of music. Many come from prestigious music universities/conservatories such as the Juilliard School, Berklee College of Music and others. Some have created their own music festivals and training grounds for young musicians hailing from all over the world.

To continue the momentum build in school, we aim to invite the class to a concert of the visiting artist. We appreciate the collaboration with some of the very creative concert series in the city, in support of GetClassical In School’s mission:

GetClassical In School is excited about the collaboration with Frank Salomon, Manager of Peoples’ Symphony Concerts, which will invite our school children, visited by extraordinary talent in the classroom, to their world class concerts. This is a unique opportunity to expose kids to live classical music and artists to inspire the next generation. Peoples’ Symphony Concerts is the oldest concert series in New York, founded in 1900, here is their upcoming season schedule.

Frank Salomon:”Peoples’ Symphony Concerts is pleased to support this important effort to bring music into the schools. Our artists will join us in welcoming them to our concerts” –



Photo: Irene Abrigo, violinist and Albert Cano Smit, pianist inspire kids at Stuyvesant Highschool – our second school residency in NYC.


“Eurasia Festival is happy to announce its active collaboration with Ilona Oltuski’s wonderful initiative GetClassical In School. Our mutual passion for the success of this important mission is a perfect common denominator and compliments our positive relationship, among colleagues in the music field. We look forward to a fruitful exchange of artists and creative ideas to enhance love for classical music and international understanding.” Aza Sydokov. Co-Founder/Co-Director. Eurasia Festival is a project of Kyrgyz American Foundation, which was established to preserve the rich multicultural heritage of the Eurasian region and to introduce it to the general public of the United States. The ultimate aim of the Foundation and its Festival is to promote international understanding and goodwill by means of cultural exchange.




“The life and engaging exposure to classical music inspires, enriches, increases focus and ultimately even increases learning ability, get us all classical, congrats and go for it, Ilona.”

Hanna Arie-Gaifman

Director, Tisch Center for the Arts at The 92nd Street Y

As it takes a village…we are so happy about new collaborations with wonderful friends from the music industry, who do their part in support of the initiative. “ARTS-NY, a publication established to highlight the noteworthy art, music, and theater performances in and around New York City, is delighted to collaborate with Ilona Oltuski’s initiative GetClassical In School in its noble mission of bringing a gift of classical music to school students. It is exciting to be part of the wonderful initiative that is destined to make a lifelong impact on kids’ lives.” Tatyana Polyak, founder and director of ARTS-NY                                                                  


“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 Dicterow

Violinist, Educator, Former Concert Master New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Pedagogical Advisory Board GetClassical In School


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



We are honored to welcome Gerard Schwarz to GetClassical In School’s Artistic Advisory Board. “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 adviser.”

Artistic and Music Director, Palm Beach Symphony Distinguished Professor Of Music,The Frost School Of Music Music Director, All-Star Orchestra Music Director, Eastern Music Festival Conductor Laureate, Seattle Symphony. 

ASPECT Series to collaborate with GetClassical in School in the new concert season

“Aspect Chamber Music series is very excited about the ‘GetClassical In School’ initiative. The mission of GetClassical is important to us – bringing great performers to the classroom will help foster children’s interest in music; inviting students to the concerts of performers they have met personally may forge a special connection and inspire children’s love for classical music. We are                enthusiastic to work on developing opportunities for collaboration with GetClassical in the fall.”

                                                                           Irina Knaster, Founder and Artistic Director of ASPECT Chamber Music Series

GetClassical In School Pedagogical Advisory welcomes the iconic Gary Graffman on Board: He says: “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 Graffman, Pianist and Pedagogue. Former Director of the Curtis Institute of Music. Pedagogical Advisory Board for GetClassical In School.

We are honored to welcome Rachel Shapiro to our Pedagogical Advisory Board! A big thank you to the esteemed educational advocate for the performing arts!

We are honored to welcome Pierre Van Der Westhuizen to GetClassical In School’s Artistic Advisory Board.

“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 Westhuizen, Director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards.

As the founder of Rhapsody in School in Germany, I salute Ilona Oltuski’s efforts to build a similar platform, akin to our motivation, in the New York Metropolitan Area. Our charismatic performers feel compelled to convey the positive message of classical music and spark youngsters’ passion, with personal encounters in the classroom. As the founder and curator of GetClassical, Ilona Oltuski shares our vision, aiming to connect the performer with the young generation. I sincerely welcome Ilona’s initiative and hope to personally partake in some of her planned events in support of this goal, in New York. Lars Vogt, pianist, conductor and founder of Rhapsody in School in Germany.

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 from all but the largest cultural institutions. And those who might benefit the most from it are those in the greatest need, especially as New York becomes less affordable for so many. To paraphrase Stravinsky, children shouldn’t be taught to respect music; they should be taught to love it. Sean Hickey Composer, Senior Vice-President, Naxos of America, Inc.

”The Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with Ilona Oltuski’s initiative GetClassical In School, as we share that mission of bringing Classical music and Classical Culture to youth, especially to those who, through no fault of their own, do not have the means to access this beautiful treasuretrove that belongs to all mankind. We look forward to the opportunity of working with Ilona to bringing more Classical musicians to schools through classroom and concert presentations, so that many more young people can share in the joy of Classical music!”