‘Pianos at an Exhibition’ Concert Links Music, Art and Dance at University of Mobile 

Kathy DeanASOTA, News

MOBILE, Ala. – Music, visual art and dance combine for “Pianos at an Exhibition” at the University of Mobile, a unique concert featuring the talents of students from the university’s Alabama School of the Arts music and dance programs, and the visual arts program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Pianos at an Exhibition will be presented Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. in the university’s College Woods Center. The event is free and open to the public.

An Eclectic Event

The event meshes the visual arts including painting, photography and sculpture with the literary arts of fiction, prose poetry and drama, brought together with the performing arts of music and dance. 

Under the direction of Steinway Artist Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva, director of piano studies and professor of music, the Alabama School of the Arts piano ensemble will showcase works from the following composers:  Arensky, Bartok, Chopin, Coleman, Debussy, Holst, Milhaud,  Rachmaninoff, Verdi, Wagner and Weber. 

“The idea for the name of the concert came to me after Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition,’ so I immediately thought about a collaboration with our visual arts department in the College of Arts and Sciences, and with our dance program in the Alabama School of the Arts,” Onalbayeva said.

“Just as we interact with others throughout our daily activities, so have the arts interacted. The arts exchange ideas and inspire a new look at experiences and creations. The influences exchanged between the visual arts, literary arts and performing arts result in new creations with synergy more powerful than the parts,” she said.

Onalbayeva said Liszt believed that the arts can influence and give strength to one another. 

“Niccolò Paganini’s violin compositions influenced the creation of Liszt’s ‘La Campanella.’ Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has been recreated into musical form by many artists, including Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Franco Zeffirelli.

“The symphonic poem takes as a point of departure a piece of art or a literary creation and transforms the concepts into a musical work. Examples include George Gershwin’s ‘An American in Paris,’ Claude Debussy’s ‘Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun’ and Camille Saint-Saën’s ‘Danse Macabre,’” Onalbayeva explained.

Featured Piano Ensemble Students

“Pianos at an Exhibition” features the following members of the Alabama School of the Arts Piano Ensemble:

Benjamin Naman, sophomore, Bachelor of Arts in music composition
Emily Thullesen, junior, Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, minor in piano
Alison Strunk, junior, Bachelor of Music in piano performance and Bachelor of Arts in English
Marc Marquis, senior, Bachelor of Music in piano performance
Brea Harris, sophomore, Bachelor of Arts in English education
Luke Graham, sophomore, Bachelor of Arts in business management, minor in piano
Rebecca Reed, Master of Music in piano performance
Jairus Dixon, junior, Bachelor of Music in piano performance
Gaukhar Kenessova, Master of Music in piano performance
Bryson East, junior, Bachelor of Science in music education
Logan Lipke, junior, Bachelor of Arts in music, minor in studio production Trenton McGuff, freshman, Bachelor of Arts in composition.

Featured Visual Arts Students

College of Arts and Sciences, Visual Arts Department members and the title of their works are:

Abby Eddins, Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art, “Topsy Turvy,” “Solitude,” “Memorium”
Abigale Bell, senior, Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art, “Crucifixion,” “Miraculous Journey,” “Beauty Within”
Grace Burchell, senior, Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, “Flower Garden,” “Watercolor Mountains,” “BSM”
Jamie Johnson, junior, Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, “Stuck in Time,” “Soulmates,” “Walk in the Park”
Emily Thullesen, junior, Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, “Vivace,” “Wagner”

Other participants include:

Poem Reciter: Abigail Anderson, poem reciter
Soloists: Rebecca Duncan and James Naman, soloists
Corps de ballet: Isabella Powel, Anna Geter, Lenjamin Cory Anderson and Jordan Johns
Costume Design: Claire Strong
Backdrop Design (Lumen photography): Sophia C. Haines
Choreography/Felted Sculpture: Barbara G. Haines, “The Faces of Many.”

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.