PIANO SERIES jump to: World Music | Festival of New American Music | Faculty Artists

The Piano Series at Sacramento State presents 4-5 guest artist recitals per year, featuring a wide variety of professional performers from around the country.

Now entering our 22nd Season of the Piano Series, take a look back at the first 20 years with Series director Richard Cionco, in this 56-minute video produced at Sac State and recorded in our own Capistrano Concert Hall.

Below is the current lineup for the 2015-2016 season, featuring incredible artists that you won't want to miss!
The 2015-2016 Piano Series kicks off with a recital by guest artist Kadisha Onalbayeva on Saturday, October 3 at 7:30 p.m. A Steinway Artist, Dr. Onalbayeva was born in Kazakhstan and began her musical training at the age of five. She is the first pianist from Kazakhstan to be named a Steinway Artist. She attended the Jubanov Special School for Talented Children in Almaty, Kazakhstan. While at Jubanov she studied piano and composition, gave piano recitals and was involved in both piano and composition festivals and competitions. Awards include the Soviet Union’s New Talent competition and various prizes in national piano competitions and Central Asia piano competitions. She also participated in international music festivals in Germany, Turkey, Russia, and Uzbekistan. After graduating from the Jubanov School, Kadisha entered the Kurmangazy National Conservatory of Music. She was awarded the President’s Award for Young Artists and Chevron’s Award for Talented Students in piano and composition.

Dr. Onalbayeva is Associate Professor at the University of Mobile and is founder, co-director and pianist of the chamber ensemble The Gulf Coast Virtuosi. She currently serves as President of the Gulf Coast Steinway Society (Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida). She was recently commissioned to write a symphonic poem titled Zherym (My Motherland) which was premiered on May 17, 2014 by the Kazakhstan National Orchestra and she also performed the Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 on the same concert.

Next up on the Piano Series will be Eduardus Halim on Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Halim has performed recitals at prestigious venues around the world, including Alice Tully Hall and the 92nd Street Y in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington. Festival appearances have taken him to Ravinia, Grant Park, Newport, Stockholm, the Minnesota Orchestra's Viennese Sommerfest and Wyoming's Grand Teton Festival. In 1997 he made a triumphant recital debut at Wigmore Hall in London which led to an invitation from the BBC for a broadcast concert the following season.

Mr. Halim’s awards and honors include the Young Concert Artists International Auditions as well as the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Mr. Halim was appointed as Music Professor and is the holder of the inaugural Sascha Gorodnitzki Faculty Chair in Piano Studies, Department of Music and Performing Arts at Steinhardt, New York University.

The spring 2016 semester will lead off with a guest artist recital featuring Richard Dowling on Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Dowling will be performing works by Beethoven, Debussy, Scott Joplin, Chopin, and more. Hailed by The New York Times as an especially impressive fine young pianist, Richard Dowling appears regularly across the United States in solo recitals and concerts with orchestras. An artist of rising international stature, Mr. Dowling has presented solo recitals in the Far East, Australia, Africa, and Europe, including six performance tours in France. In the United States he has received nationwide attention for recitals seen on the PBS television program Debut, and heard on the NPR radio program Performance Today. Career highlights include a sold-out New York orchestral debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, a solo recital at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall in New York, and a special award from the National Federation of Music Clubs recognizing his outstanding performances of American music.

While studying at Yale University, Dowling was honored with the Lockwood Award for performing the best recital and the Simonds Award for outstanding solo and ensemble playing. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from The University of Texas and has held positions as Artist-in-Residence at Lamar University in Texas and at The Harid Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida.

The Piano Series rounds out this season with a recital by guest artist Misuzu Tanaka on Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. As an avid performer of the music of J. S. Bach and Leoš Janáček, Misuzu Tanaka has established herself as an artist of remarkable individuality with a rare combination of poetic sensitivity and breathtaking virtuosity. Recently hailed by critics as a pianist "…who dispatched everything with both dizzying speed and sensitivity", she is the winner of many prestigious competitions including First Prize at the Poland Music Festival Competition and Second prize at the Joan and Daniel Rutenberg Chamber Music Competition. She was invited as a special guest artist to perform for former U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, as well as former Ambassador of the Slovak Republic, Ronald Weiser.

Ms. Tanaka studied piano at the Juilliard School with Martin Canin and Chamber music with Jacob Lateiner, Seymour Lipkin, and Robert Mann. She holds a Masters in Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Michigan where she was full scholarship recipient studying with Dr. Logan Skelton.