Matthias Ilkenhans, born in 1968 in Frankfurt and raised in Bad Homburg, initially studied orchestral music in Stuttgart, Saarbrucken, and Munich, majoring in violin. This was followed by studies in cultural management at the University of Hagen.
At first as a violinist, later as project manager, he belonged to the ensemble of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie in Frankfurt from 1994 to 2000. After a year as project manager of the Munich Chamber Orchestra, he returned to the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie in 2001 as general manager.
Since the 2004–05 concert season, Matthias Ilkenhans has been manager of the North German Radio’s NDR Radiophilharmonie.