Ihlara is a composer, pianist and music educator based in Ōtepoti, Dunedin. She completed her Bachelor of Music at Otago University in 2019 studying piano with Terence Dennis and composition with Anthony Ritchie and Peter Adams, with additional mentorship from Mozart Fellows Chris Gendall and Dylan Lardelli.
Her compositions have been performed or workshopped in New Zealand and Australia by artists including the Argonaut Ensemble, Mark Menzies, Nathaniel Otley, Dylan Lardelli, the NZSO, NZ Trio, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, the Otago Symphonic Band, and the Dunedin Youth Orchestra.
In 2020, Ihlara was selected as an Inspiring Explorer with the Antarctic Heritage Trust, and travelled to Antarctica to collect audio recordings to inspire future composition. For the remainder of 2020 and going into 2021, Ihlara is working on a community engagement project around the theme of exploration and preservation, drawing from her time in Antarctica as inspiration. Ihlara would like to thank the Antarctic Heritage Trust for their support.
In 2019 Ihlara was a featured young composer at the Bendigo International Festival for Exploratory Music (BIFEM) as part of the Reo Hou future voices New Zealand programme, with a performance of her work Sehnsucht. She has been awarded first place in University of Otago Lilburn Trust Composition Competition in 2016, 2017, and 2017 for her works Duo for Violin and Piano, An Incomplete List of Things I Can Qualify, Quantify, and Query, and Mutual Assured Destruction, respectively. She was a finalist for the NZ Trio Impetus competition with her work (ir)rationality in 2019, and a finalist in the NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composers Award in 2018 and 2019 for her works Ārohirohi and petrichor.
Ihlara is active in her local community and is a passionate music educator. She runs a private piano teaching business and organises concerts for her students around Dunedin retirement villages. She is also the Administrator, Co-Conductor, and Wind/Brass tutor of the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra Academy which is an orchestra for school students. As part of this role, Ihlara has also implemented an Aspiring Composers opportunity, where she and fellow University of Otago Composition graduate Nathaniel Otley mentor highschool aged composers and workshop their pieces with the orchestra. Ihlara also runs a music reviewing blog, and is the Otago Student Ambassador for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music New Zealand.
Ihlara is also completing a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of the Arts (Hons) in Gender Studies. She has a keen interest in intellectual property within contemporary music, as well as gender equity issues and gender representations in music.