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Dr. Ainur Zabenova

Violinist | Soloist | Educator

Dr. Ainur Zabenova is hailed in her native Kazakhstan as one of the brightest and most promising 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.


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 completingher5-year Bachelor Degree in 4 years, graduated in 2001 with Highest Distinction.


Dr. Zabenova started her teaching career with a private studio at age 18 in her native country, Kazakhstan. She was teaching actively through her Bachelor years at Almaty Conservatory,and became a teaching assistant for Professor Krysa (5 years) when in her DMA program at Eastman. She also taught at University of Rochester as Violin Instructor for both music majors and non-music majors.


At Eastman her duties included teaching private lessons while Professor Krysa was out of town and directing/programming studio classes on a weekly basis. In 2012 she was offered a one-year teaching position at Buffalo University. In 2016 she was in the 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 this February.


Her numerous prizes at several international violin competitions include, but are not limited to:


  • 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 Yekaterinburg, 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) and Section First and Second Violins of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Rochester, NY (2003-2015).


Coming to the USA in 2002 to pursue Master’s Degree as full scholarship student she graduated in2004 with Performance Certificate from the studio of Oleh Krysa. From 2004 to 2008 she served as Oleh Krysa’s Teaching Assistant and Instructor of Secondary violin at the University of Rochester. After receiving her Master’s Degree she was accepted as a full scholarship recipient for DMA program at Eastman (2009). While at Eastman, Ainur performed actively as soloist with Monroe County orchestras and as a member of Eastman Chamber Music Society; she also founded piano trio KYA, and made her solo Carnegie Hall debut in 2003.


Summer Festivals performances include Tanglewood and Skaneateles, among others. In 2004 she performed with a group of musicians from Silk Road Ensemble including Yo Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, Cho Lian Lin, Jennifer Koch, Sharon Robinson, Jaime Loredo, and others.


Her Guest Artists Series concerts include performances in Russia, Kazakhstan and Europe’s Sofia Music Weeks Festival in Bulgaria. Collaborating with faculty of Eastman School of Music Ainur took part at David Oistrakh Festival in Rochester, NY (2008) and premiered works with Eastman’s orchestras in collaboration with Oleh Krysa (2010). Her upcoming concerts will take place in India, France, USA and other venues, including solo performances in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and projects in Russia and Germany.


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