Get Classical in School

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.

These school-time experiences are not formal concerts, nor are they academic music lessons either. They are a direct experience as to  how music moves you. Topics covered include: How does a musician  achieve his/her/their instrumental skill? when is a performance considered successful? How can you understand the bigger context surrounding a performance choice? How would you go about expressing some of the moods heard in a specific piece? How did the musician pick his/her/their career? What lead them to choose their instrument? What inspired them along the way? How do you become a professional concert artist?

These are some of the questions addressed in GetClassical’s highly engaging, interactive sessions. Youth are motivated to engage in conversations about music, tune in to listen more carefully and can ask a multitude of questions, surrounding the artists’ lives.

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 or even music programs. We bring performers to both public and private schools in the greater New York City and Metropolitan area.


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

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.
  • Discussion of what kind of music types (chamber music, orchestral, solo)
  • Explanation of 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:

“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.


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




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 advisor.”

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


NEWS: 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.


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

Since 2018, Van Der Westhuizen is the Director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards.

“We are delighted that Pierre will be leading The Gilmore,” said Cynthia Kole, President of The Gilmore’s Board of Trustees. “His passion for music, his warm personality and his creative vision will propel The Gilmore Festival and Awards into the next exciting phase.”

And we are delighted that he takes an interest in our initiative GetClassical In School!


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!”.