Iliana still remembers her first music teacher, Hanna Kot Skiba. Her encouragement, warmth and enthusiasm resonate in Iliana’s teaching: she has been involved in projects for the well-being of children from a young age, organizing food-, book-, and toy-drives for orphans and poor children in her home state of Veracruz, Mexico. Iliana toured with Mojiganga Arte Escénico from 2005-2008, a theater company that uses puppetry, acting, singing and dancing to empower children with stories about family, culture, traditions, and the importance of play. From 2009-2014 she taught the Junior Music Course at the Yamaha School of Music in Veracruz.
Iliana’s enthusiasm for empowering children through music took a new form in 2014 when she started Casita de Música, or Little House of Music, focused on teaching music to children and adults with different educational needs, ranging from blindness and hemiparesia to autism and Down Syndrome. She created Jazz Puppets in 2016, a jazz musical with puppets. She wrote the text, composed the music, and puppeteered while singing in this story about three special needs students and their journey towards friendship, acceptance and empowerment.
Iliana studied classical singing at Escuela Superior de Música del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City (2000-2006), jazz at Centro de Estudios de Jazz de la Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa (2009-2011), and has been immersed in Son Jarocho (indigenous folk music from Veracruz) since her childhood. She sang both folk and classical at Fête de la Musique in Switzerland in 2009 and has performed in jazz cafes across Mexico and now throughout Atlanta at The Velvet Note, Brew and Bird, Red Light Café and Chairs.