John Ilika

Coming from a background as an accomplished freelancer in and around Philadelphia for 15 years and also as Principal Trombone of a major symphony orchestra since 2001, trombone faculty John Ilika has familiarity with both worlds. Whether you want to play commercially, or prepare for a orchestral audition, he has been there—and he's been successful. He has also played alto, tenor and bass trombone professionally for over 30 years and has been on faculty at UNCSA since 2010.

Each student’s program is individualized to foster superior growth as a musician. Doubling is highly encouraged once there is basic mastery of the instrument.


  • Active member of Philadelphia substitute list since 1989, subbing bass trombone and tenor trombone. Played assistant Principal as well as associate Principal.
  • Principal Trombone for NC Symphony since 2001
  • Former Principal Trombone for Delaware Symphony, Reading Symphony, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Brass, Florida Music Festival and many other organizations
  • Bass Trombone for Eastern Music Festival, Greensboro, for 10 years; second trombone for two years
  • Former Instructor of Trombone at Lehigh University, Moravian College and Community College of Philadelphia
  • Substitute (semester) Instructor at University of Delaware and University of West Chester in Penn.
  • Graduate studies with Charlie Vernon, one year towards Masters of Performance, University of the Arts

Career Highlights

  • Performance with Low Brass Project 2010 with members of Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and Sao Paolo Symphony
  • Performance of Gurre-Lieder with Philadelphia Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle conducting
  • Performance of Tomasi, Trombone Concerto with NC Symphony
  • Substitute Principal Trombone with Sao Paulo Symphony, performing Schoenberg, Pelleas & Mellisande
  • Recording of American Spectrum CD with NC Symphony, Editor’s Choice, Gramophone

Awards, Recognitions and Honors

  • First full time job was with La Orquesta de Sinfonica de Maracaibo, Venezuela as assistant principal trombone. I was offered this position before my graduation from Luther College in 1981. 


  • International Trombone Association
  • North Carolina Music Educators Association
  • Shires Artist
  • American Federation of Musicians since 1984


B.A. Music EducationLuther College