Gulf Coast Steinway Society Music Competition set for Jan. 19 at University of Mobile

Kathy Dean News

MOBILE, Ala. – Outstanding musicians from middle school through college will compete for top honors at the Gulf Coast Steinway Society’s fourth annual music competition Jan. 19 at University of Mobile.

The public is invited to attend the competition, where 55 young pianists and instrumentalists from across the South will have the opportunity to perform and work with master teachers. The event begins at 9 a.m. at Martin Hall on the university campus at 5735 College Pkwy., just off I-65 at Exit 13.

Participants in the solo piano category will perform two to three pieces of contrasting style and winners will be awarded cash prizes. Winners in the concerto competition will earn the opportunity to perform later in the year with the Gulf Coast Steinway Society Orchestra consisting of regional professional musicians. The orchestra will be under the direction of Maestro Claire Fox Hillard of the Albany Symphony in Albany, Georgia.

The Gulf Coast Steinway Society is a non-profit organization formed by Steinway Artist Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva and other individuals united in their devotion to strive to promote fine music through education and performance along the Gulf Coast region. Onalbayeva is director of piano studies and professor of music in the Alabama School of the Arts at University of Mobile.

The annual competition is open to residents of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, or those studying with a teacher who is a resident of the five-state region.

A distinguished panel of judges includes:

  • Dr. Natsuki Fukazawa – Steinway Artist, artist faculty, Orfeo Music Festival and Talis Festival & Academy faculty, American River College in Sacramento, California.
  • Dr. Robin Williams – professor of piano, University of New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana.  
  • Rebecca Fox – former professor of piano, Alabama School of the Arts at University of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama. 
  • Dr. Claire Fox Hillard – music director, Albany Symphony Orchestra; music faculty, Albany State University in Albany, Georgia.
  •  Dr. Jerry Alan Bush – distinguished professor emeritus of music, University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama.
  • Dr. Michael Coleman – professor of music, Pensacola State College in Pensacola, Florida.
  • Steve Dunn – associate professor of music, director of instrumental studies Alabama School of the Arts at University of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama.

For information about the competition, the Gulf Coast Steinway Society, or the Alabama School of the Arts, contact Onalbayeva at 251.442.2285 or

About University of Mobile

University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in over 90 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres. 

For more information about University of Mobile, visit the website at www.umobile.eduor call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author
Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean

Kathy is an award-winning media relations director and former journalist whose expertise has enabled the University of Mobile to gain national and regional attention. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Auburn University and worked as a journalist for 12 years, including 10 years at the Mobile Press-Register, earning regional and national awards for coverage of education, deadline reporting and feature writing. She joined the University of Mobile staff in 1993, earning awards for writing and public relations including the Baptist Communicators Association grand prize for feature writing in 2015 and 2012. She is a charter member of Providence United Methodist Church, serves on the board of the John Will Scholarship Foundation, and is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Baptist Communicators Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. Kathy lives in Daphne with her husband, Chuck, who earned his M.B.A. from the University of Mobile. They have two children and two grandchildren.