''Musicians like Ilonka Kolthof are what keep the music world so fascinating.'' Ned McGowan (composer, 2019)
''Wonderful stage presence (...)'' Kujala International Piccolo Competition Finals (2017)
''(...) an unforgettable listening experience.'' Trouw (2015)
''Ilonka Kolthof performs with expression, conviction and courage.'' Linkprize Finals (2013)
''Technically very high-level playing by Ilonka Kolthof'' Concertzender (2013)
''Ilonka Kolthof proved her ability of playing modern music with full control.'' FLUIT magazine (2012)
''Enchanted performance by flutist Ilonka Kolthof and pianist Ralph van Raat.'' Trouw (2012)
''(...) Ilonka Kolthof impressed with her precise and nuanced flute playing.'' de Volkskrant (2012)
''(...) sprightly technique and shining flute playing'' Hoog en Laag (2011)
''Spanish fire and virtuosic flute playing (...)'' Rijnsburger Courant (2010)
‘Musicians like Ilonka Kolthof are what keep the music world so fascinating.’ (Ned McGowan, composer and flutist)
Falling in love with the smallest, loneliest and slightly conceited member of the symphony orchestra… It happened to Dutch flutist Ilonka Kolthof, who was left no other choice than to devote her musical career to the piccolo.
A tireless promoter of her instrument, Ilonka initiated the Dutch Piccolo Project with the aim to actively raise the status of the piccolo to the level of an autonomous solo instrument. It has resulted in the creation of many new compositions for the piccolo, forging collaborations with internationally acclaimed musicians and drawing strong media attention.
Also a passionate flute player, Ilonka travels the world to play solo concerts, her suitcase usually stuffed with both flute and piccolo music from Vivaldi to Takemitsu, from Debussy to Castiglioni. On top of this she is a regular guest player in first-class orchestras at home and abroad such as the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra.
Ilonka studied flute at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. She subsequently completed a piccolo specialization at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, honoured with ‘greatest distinction’. Already during her studies Ilonka won prizes in several acclaimed international piccolo competitions such as the ‘International Walfrid Kujala Piccolo Competition’ (Second Prize, 2017) and the ‘NFA Piccolo Artist Competition Chicago’ (Third Prize, 2014).
2019 | Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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I am convinced that the piccolo has entered a new era. After years of being perceived as just a colour in the orchestra, the time has come for this beautiful little instrument to conquer the stage on its own merit. Despite its negligible size, the piccolo harbours a surprisingly rich palette of sounds. Its powers of expression and outspoken character offer endless opportunities to elevate it into the ranks of solo instruments, equal to the flute, the violin, the piano and so on.