Ilona Vukovic-Gay pursues a career as a performing musician and a composer. She is the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Assistant Principal Viola and string quartet violist. 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. She was a Fulbright Scholar and performed a debut recital in London that included a premiere of her viola sonata “Mladost.” She was recently the recipent of the the Southern Arizona Arts Foundation “Arts Hero Award” as a performer, composer and educator who has impacted thousands.
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. For 12 years one of these musical stories was performed on the TSO’s week long KinderKonzert series. Previously she had been on the New College Faculty, Sarasota Florida, teaching music theory and composition. She has been involved with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Young Composer’s Project as a performer and the primary instructor for the past 26 years. She was the Program Director of the Junior Artist Seminar and the Junior Music Program at Rocky Ridge Summer Music Center where she was also the composition instructor and violist in the Southwest String Quartet.