Singer Ilona Tipp creates music with a nearly endless palette of vocal colors through emotionally stirring performances. With early training in classical bel canto styles and later studies in jazz, blues, folk, and other styles “outside the box,” her seamless multi-style technique is employed not for its own sake, but in service of the feelings she seeks to evoke in the music of the moment.
Musical roots run deep in Ilona’s family: her maternal grandmother was a piano teacher who took long trolley rides in depression-era Kansas City in order to teach her students, and all the children in Ilona’s family learned to play the piano, and read music, as soon as their fingers could depress the keys. After many years of piano study, Ilona found her voice (both literally and figuratively!) in singing, and now journeys into songwriting and arranging as well, frequently accompanying herself on the keys.
Her songs and arrangements are infused with elements of R&B and blues as well as classical counterpoint. Heavily influenced by artists from Aretha Franklin to k. d. lang, from Joni Mitchell to Glenn Gould, from Ray Charles to Jamie Cullum, Ilona’s artistry and voice continue to evolve through performance explorations that include singing with art rock blues bands to synagogue choirs to swing-style Klezmer.
Ilona studied at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and there she encountered her great musical mentors in the genre-obliterating, revolutionary Contemporary Improvisation department: singer and composer Dominique Eade; pianist, composer, and MacArthur Fellow Ran Blake; and multi-instrumentalist, composer, and Klezmer Conservatory Band founder Hankus Netsky.
Ilona performs all over New England, and bounces primarily between Maine, New Hampshire, and the Boston area. An introverted homebody who is fiercely devoted to her two spoiled cats, Stella and Oberon, and her heroic spouse, author and teacher Alex Myers, Ilona also loves yoga, snail mail (and blogging about snail mail), reading fiction for pleasure, and hiking.