news-category: Campus News

GWU Distinguished Artist Series Presents Trombonist John Ilika and Pianist Polina Khatsko

a photo of John Ilika holding a trombone

Program Held on Feb. 21 in Blanton Auditorium with Limited Seating 

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University Distinguished Artist Series will feature trombonist John Ilika with pianist Polina Khatsko in the first concert of the spring semester. Presented by the GWU School of Performing and Visual Arts in collaboration with the Alfred and Shirley Wampler Caudill Fund, the program will be on Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. in Hamrick Hall’s Blanton Auditorium. Because of COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Ilika will perform on alto, tenor and bass trombones. The program includes “Trombone Sonata No. 1” by Frank Gulino, “Romance Op. 21” by Axel Jorgensen, “Concerto per Trombone” by G. Christoph Wagenseil, and “New Orleans” by Eugene Bozza. In addition to the Sunday concert, Ilika will also do a masterclass for GWU low brass students on Feb 20.

Ilika joined the artist faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in 2010. He has served as principal trombone with the North Carolina Symphony since January 2001. He has held several other principal positions and has been a regular substitute with the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1989.

In 1981, he earned a degree in music education (K-12) from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He completed further studies in 1985 with Charles Vernon at the Pennsylvania College of Performing Arts. In addition, he has 15 years of free-lancing experience around the Philadelphia area.

Polina Khatsko
Polina Khatsko

A native of Belarus, Khatsko has established herself both as an active performer and a dedicated teacher. Currently, she is a staff pianist at UNCSA and Wake Forest University School of Music, as well as a sought-after freelancer. She has served on the piano faculty of the University of the Northern Iowa, the University of Michigan preparatory department and the Leipzig Summer Piano Institute. Khatsko was on the collaborative piano staff for the International Music Academy in Pilsen, Czech Republic; the Cambridge International String Academy, England; the University of Michigan String department; and is an annual collaborative pianist for the Sphinx Competition. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan as a student of Arthur Greene.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event. Please call (704) 406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

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