Steinway Artist Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva was born in Kazakhstan and began her musical training at the age of five. She is the first pianist from Kazakhstan to be named a Steinway Artist. She attended the Jubanov Special School for Talented Children in Almaty, Kazakhstan. While at Jubanov she studied piano and composition, gave piano recitals and was involved in both piano and composition festivals and competitions. Awards include the Soviet Union’s New Talent competition and various prizes in national piano competitions and Central Asia piano competitions. She also participated in international music festivals in Germany, Turkey, Russia, and Uzbekistan. After graduating from the Jubanov School, Kadisha entered the Kurmangazy National Conservatory of Music. She was awarded the President’s Award for Young Artists and Chevron’s Award for Talented Students in piano and composition.
Dr. Onalbayeva continued her performances as a recitalist, chamber musician, composer, and as an orchestral soloist. She received a Soros Prize for her work in development of international cultural exchanges. She earned two M.M degrees in both composition and piano performance at the University of New Orleans. She then received her Doctoral of Musical Arts in piano performance at Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Dr. Onalbayeva has been a strong supporter of new music and she has been particularly interested in introducing the music of Kazakhstan to the United States. She has continued performances of her music and has participated in international new music festivals as composer, performer and organizer throughout Central Asia, Austria, England, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. While in the U.S. she has participated in new music activities and performances as piano soloist and chamber musician in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Onalbayeva is Associate Professor at the University of Mobile and is founder, co-director and pianist of the chamber ensemble The Gulf Coast Virtuosi. She currently serves as President of the Gulf Coast Steinway Society (Alabama, Mississippi and Florida). She was recently commissioned to write a symphonic poem titled Zherym (My Motherland) which was premiered in May, 2014 by the Kazakhstan National Orchestra and she also performed the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 on the same concert. Dr. Onalbayeva recently performed Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky with the Albany Symphony Orchestra in October and gave multiple performances of Dvorak’s Piano Quintet in A with the Zhubanova String Quartet during their tour in the United States (September & October) and in Kazakhstan in May. As part of her collaboration with the Zhubanova String Quartet they gave multiple performances her composition Cycle for String Quartet and performed together in May, 2015 in Kazakhstan. The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan recently filmed a documentary on the life and musical career of Dr. Onalbayeva titled Independent National’s Heritage which will be released in both Kazakh and in Russian in 2015.