University of Mobile Students, Professor to Perform Once-In-A-Lifetime Concert on Van Cliburn Steinway Piano

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MOBILE, Ala. – University of Mobile’s most distinguished piano students and faculty from the Alabama School of the Arts will perform a once-in-a-lifetime concert on the Van Cliburn Steinway Piano Dec. 8 at 5 p.m.

The public is invited to the free concert at the Steinway Piano Gallery at 11247 US-31, Spanish Fort. For more information, contact Shadoe Valentin at or 251.442.2383.

At the height of the Cold War, Texan and virtually unknown pianist Van Cliburn earned his status as a world-renowned musician in 1958 when he won the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Russia.

Today, the Steinway piano he owned travels the world as a special exhibit.

This concert is part of the university’s inaugural Piano Festival, a yearlong series of special events spotlighting Alabama School of the Arts’ undergraduate and graduate programs in piano performance.

Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva, associate professor of piano and Steinway Artist, is excited for her students to have this opportunity.

“My students are very talented and I am excited to give them the opportunity to perform on the piano of one of the greatest pianists of all time,” said Onalbayeva.

For Onalbayeva, this event is particularly special. Her late father was in the audience at Van Cliburn’s winning performance at the Tchaikovsky Competition. She says that he met Cliburn during the three rounds of competition, and they struck up a friendship.

“My father always said he was the best pianist he ever heard – and encouraged me to be a pianist like Van Cliburn,” Onalbayeva says.

Making history as Kazakhstan’s first Steinway Artist, she credits much of her success to her father’s encouragement in her formative years – and Van Cliburn’s example was central to that encouragement.

“To perform on his piano,” she says, “is a dream come true.”

University of Mobile is an All-Steinway School and offers a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Master of Music in Piano Performance.


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 and master’s degree programs in over 40 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 or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author
Rivers Brunson

Rivers Brunson

Rivers is an experienced writer and an alumna of University of Mobile. She graduated in 2015 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication. She returned to University of Mobile professionally as marketing communications specialist in 2017. She also hosts a podcast with Bellum Creative Group called Due South about Southern arts and culture. A Grove Hill, Alabama native, Rivers fell in love with the city of Mobile as an undergraduate student and now calls it home; however she takes frequent trips to see her family who are NAMB church planters in Livingston, Montana. She has a lovable golden retriever named Cooper.

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