Ilona Kubiaczyk-Adler is a concert organist whose programs explore connections between early and contemporary music, the works of female composers, the music of Eastern Europe, and improvisation.
Born in Pomerania, Poland, Kubiaczyk-Adler grew up during the era of communism and witnessed the country’s transition to capitalism. Acquiring a passport after the fall of the communist government allowed her to see the West for the first time. The shock of the experience inspired her to explore the world beyond her home country. She has traveled, mainly as a performer, through most of Europe, and South and North America.
Music became Ilona’s passion early in life – her first musical memory was listening to a Chopin concerto played by Krystian Zimerman on Polish TV. Watching the close-ups of the hands and the keyboard inspired her to draw the pattern of piano keys everywhere, including the furniture. To avoid further damage, her mother decided to send her to music school when she was 7. The Polish music school system kept her busy with daily afternoon classes of theory and history, ear training, choir, ensembles and private lessons until college.
She graduated from three conservatoria: Academy of Music in Łódź, Poland (Master of Arts), Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Master of Music), and the School of Music at Arizona State University in USA (Doctor of Musical Arts). Her main teachers were Kimberly Marshall, the late Jacques van Oortmerssen, Irena Wisełka-Cieślar, and Grażyna Fajkowska. While in college she traveled to participate in masterclasses and private lessons with: Olivier Latry, Guy Bovet, Ludger Lohmann, the late John Scott, Susan Landale, Pieter van Dijk, Lorenzo Ghielmi, Peter Planyavsky, Wolfgang Seifen, to name a few. She received a scholarship from the Royal College of Organists while studying in Cambridge, UK. Ilona participated in several international organ competitions: she won first prize in the French music interpretation competition in Warsaw, Poland; was a finalist in Leiden, Holland; semifinalist in Ireland, and in Westfield Competition in New York state. She worked as an assistant professor of organ at the Academy of Music in Łódź, and as a Research Assistant and Faculty Associate at ASU.
In 2015 she recorded an album on the newly restored 1719 Hildebrandt organ in Pasłęk, Poland. “Antique Sound Palette” is a collection of carefully selected compositions showcasing the variety of sound combinations and remarkable beauty of this instrument. Her collaboration with a group of amazing artists, sound engineers and musicians culminated with this CD release in 2016. In July 2016 it was featured on the American Public Radio program “Pipedreams”. You can read more about the project on www.kubiaczyk.com.
Ilona’s most exciting professional engagements happened at the Oude Kerk, Nieuwe Kerk, Orgelpark and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Sint Laurenskerk in Alkmaar, the Issue Project Room in New York, “Right Brain Rising!” festival in Arizona, “Musica Moderna” festival in Łódź, with the US Air Force Strings at St. John’s Episcopal in Washington DC, at the Göteborg International Organ Academy in Sweden, and Westfield Conference at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. For years she has been traveling and exploring unique historical organs, especially in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Great Britain, Ireland, Poland, Spain and Italy. She is fascinated with the historically informed organ building in the US.
She currently resides in Phoenix, AZ. Since 2019 she has been serving as the Associate Director of Ministries in Music and Arts / Organist at the Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, where she plays the masterful Richards, Fowkes op. 14 organ. Prior to this appointment she worked as the Associate Director of Music and Organist at the All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Phoenix, where she co-ran a large and active music program with adult, youth, children choirs, and instrumental ensembles. From 2009 to 2017 she worked as the Music Director of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Scottsdale, where she also promoted classical music as the Artistic Director of the Arts at Nativity concert series. She is a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians, American Choral Directors Association, and serves on the Board of the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists. She teaches privately, and performs concerts in the US and Europe as a soloist, chamber musician, in duo Zeelab with Jacob Adler, and in Duo Polonaise with violinist Dagmara Suchon Hobbs. In her free time she hikes, bikes, and enjoys yoga. She is a happy mother of two sons.