|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.
Second on the Piano Series will be a guest artist recital on Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. TBA
The spring 2016 semester will lead off with a guest artist recital on Saturday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. TBA
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.