John Ilika accepted the position Instructor of Trombone at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2010 and principal trombone with the North Carolina Symphony in January 2001. Prior to that, he held principal trombone positions with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Delaware Symphony, Opera Delaware, Florida Music Festival and the Philadelphia Brass (quintet).
In fall 2007, he also became the North Carolina Symphony's assistant personnel manager.
In 1992, with the Delaware Symphony, Mr. Ilika commissioned and premiered the Trombone Concerto by Kile Smith, curator of the Fleisher Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Upon graduation in 1981 from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he earned a Music Education degree (BA), he played for three years with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Maracaibo in Venezuela. Shortly after the economy crashed in Venezuela in 1983, he left to study with Charles Vernon, formerly of the Philadelphia Orchestra, at the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (now the University of the Arts). Mr. Ilika has played and recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a substitute/extra since 1989 and worked with every important musical organization in the Philadelphia area during his 15 years of free-lancing there. Other principal teachers were Eric Carlson, Fred Nyline and Joseph Alessi.
Teaching posts include the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C., since 1994, as well as Lehigh University and Moravian College, both in Bethlehem, Pa.; Community College of Philadelphia; West Chester University (Pa.); University of Delaware; and the Orquesta Juvenil in Caracas and Coro, Venezuela.