Ivan Vilela (born August 28, 1962 in Itajubá, Minas Gerais) is a Brazilian composer, arranger, researcher, teacher and viola caipira player. Ivan Vilela is currently a professor at the School of Communication and Arts, University of São Paulo. He is the director of Orquestra Filarmônica de Violas, a Brazilian orchestra composed by Brazilian violas. Ivan Vilela is one of the main ten-string guitarists (viola) nowadays. With a special style and very developed technique, he has more than 15 albums recorded, solo or with different groups, and was nominated for and awarded several prestigious prizes in Brazil.
Ivan Vilela is the youngest of a family of eleven children. When he was 11 years old, Ivan received a guitar from his father. His first guitar teacher was Amaury Vieira, in 1973. He began his artistic career at age 18 playing with the "Pedra" Group and then the "Água doce" Group, who did research on the music roots from the state of Minas Gerais. Vilela studied History prior to studying Music Composition at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), where he earned a BA and an MA in Arts. In 1989, he moved to Campinas. In 1995, he started playing the viola as a solo instrument. Since 1996 he has been frequently performing not only in Brazil, but also in Spain, France, Britain, Italy, and Portugal. Vilela has researched popular culture for over 20 years. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Social Psychology from the University of São Paulo with a thesis on the social history of Brazilian country music.