Ilona Vukovic-Gay

JAS & JMP Program Director

Instruments: Composition, Southwest String Quartet, Viola
Education: M.M.A., Yale; B.M., Manhattan School of Music
Currently Teaching: Summer Programs

Ilona Vukovic-Gay pursues a career as a composer and a performing musician. In the Tucson Symphony Orchestra she is the Young Composer’s Project Instructor, the Assistant Principal Viola and the violist in the TSO String Quartet. She is also on the Arizona Commission on the Arts roster as the violist in the Southwest String Quartet. She has a Bachelor of Violin Performance from Manhattan School of Music and a Masters of Musical Arts in Viola and Composition from Yale University. She studied the violin with Rafael Bronstein, viola with Walter Trampler and composition with James Drew and Yehudi Wyner. She was awarded a Fulbright Grant for further study in London. Ilona’s compositions include a series of musical dramatizations of Susan Lowell’s children’s books such as the “Three Little Javelinas.” These compositions feature the TSO string quartet performing as soloists with the orchestra. Every year one of these musical stories is the main composition on the TSO’s week long KinderKonzert series. In addition to the Young Composer’s Project, Ilona is actively involved as a music
educator in Tucson. She has created a class of Kinder Komposition for the very young student, been an instructor in Tucson’s “Opening Minds through the Arts” program and taught creative composition classes in Arizona residencies. She teaches and performs at over thirty schools in the Tucson area each year. Previously she had been on the New College (Sarasota, Florida) faculty teaching music theory and composition. Her other compositions have been performed in the United States and Europe, with a premiere of her composition “Mladost” at London’s Wigmore Hall. Ilona has been the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Young Composer’s Project instructor for the past eight years. The class is a living laboratory of music composition that has several hundred alumni.  Many have continued as composition majors at the college level and have been winners and finalists in the Morton Gould ASCAP Foundation awards. The Young Composer’s Project is a unique and nationally recognized program that has been a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts grant for the last four years and was lauded last year by cellist YoYo Ma.