Ainur Zabenova, violin
Dr. Ainur Zabenova is hailed in her native Kazakhstan as one of the brightest violinists of her generation. 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. Dr. Zabenova made her US debut at the age of 15 as a soloist with the chamber orchestra of School for Gifted Children (Almaty Kazakhstan), performing Four Seasons by Vivaldi at Betty Haag Academy in Chicago (1993). Dr. Zabenova entered Almaty State Conservatory as a full-scholarship student and completed her 5-year Bachelor of Music degree in 4 years, graduating in 2001 with Highest Distinction. She came to the USA at the age of 23 to pursue Master of Music degree (completed in 2004), and then received a full scholarship for her DMA in Violin Performance degree (completed in 2009). She also is a recipient of Eastman Performance Certificate (awarded in 2007). Her numerous summers were spent as a fellow of Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.
Dr. Zabenova started her teaching career with a small private studio at age 18 in her native Kazakhstan. She was teaching actively through her undergraduate years at Almaty Conservatory, and became a teaching assistant for Professor Krysa (for 5 years) when in her DMA program at Eastman. During her Eastman years (2004-07) she also taught as a violin instructor at University of Rochester. In 2012 she was offered a one-year teaching position at Buffalo University (accepted). In 2016 she was in final pool for the position of an Assistant Professor of Violin at Wichita State University. She was also finalist for a teaching position at Colburn Community Music School in LA in February 2019. Currently she teaches as a violin faculty at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. Her violin coach positions include Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (Portland, OR) and Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (Portland, OR). She also runs her private violin studio based in Lake Oswego, OR called Lake Oswego Violin (www.lakeoswegoviolin.com)
Her numerous prizes at several international violin competitions include Diploma and Prize for Best Performance of National Piece at 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).
Her orchestral experience includes positions of Concertmaster of chamber orchestra Camerata Kazakhstan in Almaty, Kazakhstan (1997-2001), section violin of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Rochester, NY (2003-2017), section first violin at Symphoria in Syracuse, NY (2009-2017), Oregon Symphony in Portland, OR (2020-present).
Dr. Zabenova performed actively as soloist and chamber musician in Upstate New York area. She made her solo Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) debut in 2003, and was an active member of Eastman Chamber Music Society. She was a founding member of piano trio KYA (2009-2014). Festival and concert series performances include Tanglewood, Skaneateles, Sofia Music Weeks, Des Treffen, Ankara Music Festival.
Her upcoming performances will take Dr. Zabenova to India, France, Portland OR, and performances in her native Almaty, Kazakhstan. Dr. Zabenova currently resides in Lake Oswego OR with her boyfriend James Varieur.