piano students

Alabama School of the Arts Announces 7th Annual Piano Festival

Molly Grace WatkinsASOTA, News

MOBILE, Ala. – The University of Mobile announces the 7th annual Alabama School of the Arts Piano Festival, a year-long series of master classes and workshops, recitals by guest artists and faculty, and special performances by university students and UM’s piano ensemble.

The ASOTA Piano Festival was started by Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva, UM’s Steinway Artist and director of piano studies. Along with retired music professor Becky Fox, Onalbayeva was instrumental in leading the university to gain the prestigious status of All-Steinway School.

dr kadisha onalbayeva

“The annual Piano Festival combines educational and performance variety, not just for pianists, but also for other instrumentalists and vocalists. We also collaborate with UM’s Art Department and ASOTA dance students. Our students who study composition have performances of their original works,” said Onalbayeva.

Gaukhar Kenessova, a master’s student in piano performance, said, “My favorite part of ASOTA’s piano festival is working together and sharing ideas, as well as the excellent feedback from our professors who are always ready to help us. Master classes and concerts are in a special place in my heart!” 

This year, there are workshops and master classes with international artists and educators from Israel, Costa Rica and several other countries.

“My favorite part of ASOTA’s Piano Festival is meeting and being mentored by world-class artists. Since UM is a smaller school, all students can participate in masterclasses instead of just watching the guest artist,” said Christopher Conger, sophomore music performance major.

All Piano Festival events are free and open to the public and are held on campus in Moorer Auditorium. The full schedule is below and can be found on the university calendar at umobile.edu/calendar, or call the Alabama School of the Arts at 251.442.2383.

All-Steinway School Piano Festival

The university’s 7th annual Alabama School of the Arts Piano Festival includes an annual celebration of the university’s status as an All-Steinway School. Events include:

Master Classes will be held every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Moorer Auditorium in Thomas T. Martin Hall on UM’s campus.

August 23, 3:30 p.m. – “Finding the Balance: Alexander Technique and Alignment for Pianists” Workshop with Dr. Kathryn Hedlund, chair of graduate studies, director of vocal studies and professor of music at the University of Mobile, Mobile, Alabama.

September 6, 3:30 p.m. – “Music Production Using Virtual Instruments and MIDI” Workshop with Chris Springer, producer and arranger at the University of Mobile, Mobile, Alabama.

September 26, 7 p.m. – “Ragtime and Other Riches” with Bobby van Deusen, three-time world champion of the Old Time Piano Competition, from Pensacola, Florida.

October 26, 7 p.m. – UM’s Piano Ensemble “Dancing with Pianos.”

November 1, 3:30 p.m. – “Piano and Chamber Works by Kazakh Composers” Workshop with Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva and students from the National University of Coast Rica and the University of Mobile.

November 29, 3:30 p.m. – Master Class with Dr. Uriel Tsachor, Steinway artist and professor emeritus of music at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. 

January 18, 7 p.m. – All-Steinway Seventh Annual Celebration piano department concert.

January 23, 7 p.m. – Guest Artist Recital with Faina Lushtak, Steinway artist associate and professor of music at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisianna. 

January 24, 3:30 p.m. – Master Class with Faina Lushtak. 

February 10, 9 a.m. – Gulf Coast Steinway Society Music Competition IX

February 14, 3:30 p.m. – “Latin American Piano works by Living Composers” online workshop with Dr. Rebeca Ordonez Rodriguez, associate professor of piano at Escuela de Musica.

February 20, 7 p.m. – “From America to Kazakhstan” ASOTA Piano Duet with Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva and Greg Wiggins. 

April 2, 7 p.m. – “Music from Baroque until Today” chamber music concert by ASOTA students.

April 3, 3:30 p.m. – Master Class and Workshop with Dr. Marian Lee, associate professor of music and head of piano department at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa.

April 18, 7 p.m. ­– “Pianos at an Exhibition” concert by ASOTA’s Piano Ensemble

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university with a vision of “Higher 
Education for a Higher Purpose,” founded to honor God by equipping students for their 
future professions in an environment where they are known. Located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama, on a campus of over 880 acres, the university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs. The University of Mobile was founded in 1961 and is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

For information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions and more, visit umobile.edu, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.