About

About
Ilian Iliev is hailed as one of the leading clarinetists of our generation, earning worldwide acclaim for his renowned performances across Bulgaria and the United States.

“True greatness is rare. Mr. Iliev possesses it abundantly.”
— Jens Nygaard, Conductor, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players

A clarinetist in high demand, he has worked with some of the most reputable musicians in the industry, and performed in prestigious ensembles including the Florida Grand Opera (as Principal Clarinetist), Symphony in C (formerly Haddonfield Symphony Orchestra, as Principal), Jupiter Symphony, and The Lyric Orchestra of New York (as Principal).

Ilian was born to a musical family in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, playing the clarinet from a young age under the tutelage of his father, Nikola Iliev, one of the most acclaimed folk clarinetists in the country. Following his studies in the Music School of Plovdiv, he earned his Bachelor of Music from the National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria. He continued his studies in the United States, attaining a Master of Music from the Mannes College of Music and the highly-coveted Professional Studies qualification from The Juilliard School in New York. In 2001, Ilian was granted a permanent residency in the US as “an outstanding artist of extraordinary ability”.

In addition to his classical repertoire, Ilian is also known for his performances of Eastern European music, combining modal improvisations with jazz swing, “crooked” rhythms, plummeting key changes and ecstatic speed.

Over the last decade, Ilian has continued to develop the "Cat Tongue" method, an innovative 'whole tongue' approach to articulation and the total mechanics of playing the clarinet. His instructional methods are recognised by the Mannes College of Music (New York), Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, PA) and the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Russia).

“Ilian is an excellent clarinetist with outstanding technique and a beautifully expressive musicality. Because of the high regard in which his fellow musicians hold him, he is in constant demand as a performer. He has my highest respect.”
— Charles Neidich, World-Renowned Clarinet Soloist

Notable Appearances
Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Centre, New York
Merkin Concert Hall, New York
Troy Music Hall, Albany New York
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago
The Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Tsentralynыy Home Uchёnыh, Moscow
Guest soloist, AIDS Benefit Concert, The Lyric Orchestra of New York

Notable Collaborations
Frederica von Stade / Herbie Mann / Kurt Masur / James Levine / Ives Abel / Alan Gilbert / Daniel Hege / Ruth Laredo / Theodosii Spassov / Paul Haas / Rosen Milanov / Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra / The Haddonfield Symphony Orchestra (NJ) / Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players (NY) / LARK Quartet (NY) / San Antonio Symphony (TX) / Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (AK) / Florida Grand Opera (FL) (First Clarinetist, 2012-2014)

Professional Achievements
Artists International (Winner)
Golden Fund Award for Ljubomir Pipkov’s Clarinet Concerto for Radio Hanover (Nomination)
International Foundation “Cyril and Methodius” (Scholarship)
Radio Chamber Music Competition, Sofia-Salzburg (First Prize Winner)
National Competition for Instrumentalists and Singers, Bulgaria (First Prize Winner)
Artist International Competition (Winner)

Education
Master of Music, College of Performing Arts, The New School University, New York
Professional Studies, The Juilliard School, New York
Bachelor of Music, National Music Academy, Sofia, Bulgaria

Representation
Albert Kay Associates, Impresario International (USA)
Selmer (Paris)
Conn-Selmer (USA)