Young Musicians Represent the Gulf Coast at Carnegie Hall

Young Musicians From Gulf Coast Perform at Carnegie Hall

Emily DealASOTA, News

MOBILE, Ala. – Outstanding young musicians from the Gulf Coast region had an experience of a lifetime when they performed at Carnegie Hall on June 7th

Out of 78 students from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia, 18 were chosen as winners of the 7thannual Gulf Coast Steinway Society music competition held at the University of Mobile in early February. 

The winners traveled to New York City for the rare opportunity to perform at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. In addition, students also toured the famed Steinway Factory in Queens, New York.

Steinway Artist Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva, director of piano studies and professor of music at the University of Mobile, oversaw the competition and led the group of students throughout their visit to New York.

Kadisha is the founder and current president of the Gulf Coast Steinway Society. She said, “The purpose of the Society is to further music education of young musicians along the Gulf Coast region which is based in Mobile, Alabama.”

Winners who performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall are: 

  • Aleksey Brown, piano – Semmes, AL
  • Richard Chen, piano – Montgomery, AL
  • Daniel Bae, piano – Pike Road, AL
  • Raymond Hou, piano & violin – Montgomery, AL,
  • Hunter Wittenborn, piano – Daphne, AL
  • Catherine Hinson, piano – Birmingham, AL
  • Sophia Haines, piano – Fairhope, AL
  • Alison Strunk, piano – Panama City, FL
  • Cole Mogharrebi, violin – Baton Rouge, LA
  • Yolanda Ni, violin – Hattiesburg, MS
  • Carson Campbell, piano – Macon, GA
  • Becca Harrison, piano – Vero Beach, FL
  • Azalea Kelley, piano – Troy, AL
  • Timofei Kunin, piano – Covington, LA
  • Chase Anthony Romans, alto saxophone – Hattiesburg, MS
  • Timothy Berry, piano – Tuscaloosa, AL

Winners who were not able to participate in the New York trip are:

  • Rebecca Reed, piano – Chickasaw, AL
  • Clayton Nolan, piano ­– Gulf Breeze, FL 

Gulf Coast Steinway Society

The Gulf Coast Steinway Society is a non-profit organization formed by Steinway Artist Onalbayeva and other individuals united in their devotion to strive to promote fine music through education and performance. 

The GCSS offers the following: music scholarships, the annual Gulf Coast Steinway Piano Competition and support for music programs in schools and universities in need. They also produce musical events throughout the year, at no charge, including recitals, concerts, workshops and master classes.

To learn more about the programs they offer, please contact Onalbayeva at or visit

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university offering on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs. Founded in 1961, the 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 information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions and more, visit, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.