Ainur Zabenova

Instructor of Violin

Evans Music Center, MSC: 018

Ainur Zabenova is hailed in her native Kazakhstan as one of the brightest and most promising violinists of her generation. She moved to Irvine, CA in 2017. She started her violin studies at the age of 7 at S. Prokofiev Music School in Almaty, Kazakhstan. At the age 11 she captured top prizes at three national competitions in Kazakhstan, and a year later made her concerto debut with Almaty Philharmonic performing Paganini’s Violin Concerto #1. Ainur made her US debut in at the age of 15 as a soloist with the chamber orchestra of School for Gifted Children (Almaty Kazakhstan), performing Four Seasons at Suzuki Academy in Chicago. Ainur entered Almaty State Conservatory as a full-scholarship student and completing her 5-year Bachelor Degree in 4 years, graduated in 2001 with Highest Distinction.

Ms. Zabenova started her teaching career at age 18 in her native country, Kazakhstan, running a private studio in Almaty, Kazakhstan and being on faculty of local music school. Her students have been winning violin performance prizes at city’s and national competitions of Kazakhstan. She continued teaching actively through her Bachelor years at Almaty Conservatory. Ainur came to USA in 2002 for her graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music ,she was offered a teaching assistant position to Eastman violin Professor Oleh Krysa and held that position for 5 years, also continuing to teach privately, preparing her students for orchestral auditions and contests with winning results (University of Rochester String Concerto Competition, Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra violin auditions, among others). She also served as a jury member for several local Monroe County string competitions. Starting 2005 she started teaching at University of Rochester as Violin Instructor for both violin major and non majors students. In 2012 she was offered a one-year violin teaching position at Buffalo University in Buffalo, NY. In 2016 she was selected a runner-up for the position of an Assistant Professor of Violin at Wichita State University. She was also a finalist for a violin teaching position at Colburn Community Music School in February 2017. Starting 2017 she holds a position of the Chamber Orchestra teacher at Pacific Academy Irvine, CA, prepared this ensemble to participate at and win the first prize at chamber groups competition in Fullerton, CA in March 2018. Also served as a chamber music coach for Beverly Hills International Festival in Los Angeles in summer of 2017. Currently is invited to be a jury member for a string competition in Long Beach, CA in July 2018. Maintains a private violin studio in Irvine, CA and also is a violin faculty of Luceum Village (2018).

Numerous prizes at several international violin competitions include Diploma and Prize for Best Performance of National Piece at the First Tchaikovsky Youth International Competition in Moscow, Russia (1992), Second Prize and Special Award at the International Competition of Young Violinists in Ekaterinburg ,Russia (1993), First Prize at the International Competition “Violin Competition of Central Asia” in Almaty Kazakhstan (1999), First Prize at the International Competition for String Instruments in Almaty Kazakhstan (2001), Second Prize at International Competition “Strings” (Almaty, 2002), Second Prize at Pancho Vladigerov International Competition in Shoumen, Bulgaria (2003), Fifth Prize at David Oistrakh International Competition in Odessa, Ukraine (2004).

Orchestral experience includes positions of concertmaster of chamber orchestra “Camerata Kazakhstan” in Almaty, Kazakhstan (1997-2001) and Section First and Second Violins of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Rochester, NY, Buffalo Philharmonic. Orchestra (Buffalo, NY), Symphoria (Syracuse, NY).

Coming to the USA in 2002 to pursue Master’s Degree as a full scholarship recipient she graduated in 2004 with Performance Certificate for performance excellence from the studio of Oleh Krysa. She was accepted as a full scholarship student for a DMA program at Eastman, graduating in 2009.

Ainur maintained solo performances in USA, playing with Monroe County orchestras and as a member of Eastman Chamber Music Society, performing chamber music concerts in Monroe County and NYC; was a founder of Eastman piano trio KYA (2004-07), and made her solo Carnegie Hall debut in 2003. Summer Festivals performances include Tanglewood (USA), Skaneateles (USA), Das Treffen (Germany), Dostyk (Turkey), Sofia Music Weeks (Bulgaria), among others. In 2004 she performed in collaboration with top performers including Yo Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, Cho Lian Lin, Jennifer Koch, Sharon Robinson, Jaime Loredo at chamber music concerts in NYC and Washington, D.C. Her concert tour performances as a soloist and concertmaster of Camerata Kazakhstan orchestra include Russia tour (1997), Kazakhstan(2000) and Eastern and Western European tours (1999).

Collaborating with renowned violin faculty of the Eastman School of Music Ainur performed at David Oistrakh Festival in Rochester, NY (2008) and premiered works as a soloist with Eastman’s orchestras in collaboration with Oleh Krysa (2010). Performances in the West Coast include chamber music and solo concerto performance at Beverly Hills International Festival in Los Angeles, CA in 2017.

Her upcoming concerts will take place in India, France, USA and other venues, including solo performances in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and chamber music projects in Russia and Germany. She is commissioned to record modern Kazakh violin music for national musical archives “Golden Strings” of her native Kazakhstan starting January 2019.