Meet Our Musicians

Peter Jilka

Instrument: Horn
Hometown: Salina, KS
Member of the Saint Joseph Symphony since: 1986

Bio: Peter Jilka, Principal Hornist of the St Joseph Symphony, currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where he is a member of Symphony Parnassus and the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony. Previously, he was the Principal Hornist of the Northland Symphony and the Liberty Symphony. With the St. Joseph Symphony, Mr. Jilka has performed Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3; and with the Northland Symphony, he performed Richard Strauss’s First Horn Concerto. Previously, he has performed with the Starlight Theatre orchestra, The Kansas City Symphony, and the Kansas City Camerata. Mr. Jilka earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Wichita State University as a horn student of Nick Smith and the Master of Music Degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied horn with Richard Solis.

What music have you especially enjoyed performing over the years?
The great symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Bruckner

How did you get started playing music?
I started playing trumpet in 5th grade and switched to horn when I was in high school.

What do you like best about playing Horn?
Definitely it is the heroic and noble tone of the instrument.

What is always in your kitchen?
Smokin’ Guns Barbeque Rub.

What was the first piece of music you fell in love with?
Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony.

Any family members also musicians?
My wife, Ingrid, is a flute player, and when we get together at reunions with our California cousins, we perform with the “Jilka Band.”

Did anyone inspire or encourage your interest in music?
My father and my older brother, Joe, were also Horn players.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am a pretty good Volkswagen mechanic—because you have to be one to own a Volkswagen!