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.
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).