If as a Pianist you get the privilege to study under a Virtuoso Pianist who attended same Conservatoire as Sergei Rachmaninoff and was taught by another Virtuoso who attended the same Conservatoire and was a student of Sergei Rachmaninoff, then it means you come from a lineage of Piano wizards, or better said in our local parlance “Piano Winch”.
That is the privilege that several students who learned under Russian Pianist Maria Aseeva will cherish for the rest of their lives. It’s more like you acquired a “Rachmaninoff Piano gene” of some sort, if there’s anything like that. Jokes apart, whenever I hear Pianists who passed through Maria Aseeva, I hear Rachmaninoff in their playing, in terms of technique and tone.

The artiste of this week is one of those who posses these ‘Pianistic’ traits. I introduce to you; Aina Oladimeji Olonade.


Aina holding unto his teacher Maria Aseeva

A native of Igbore, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Aina began to develop interest in music when he was 10 years old. He would sneak out of the children’s church (Sunday School) to watch the organist at his home church play. He told his parents about his love for music, and they enrolled him at the Premier Basic Music school in Abeokuta, under the tutelage of Mr Lekan Taiwo.

In 2004, Aina gained admission into The Lagos State University, to study computer science. At his final year, he decided to study Music. Although he graduated with a degree in computer science, he abandoned that career for the one he loved the most; Music.

Aina later gained admission to study Music at the Muson School of Music, majoring in Piano Performance. He was a member of the “30 Wizards” set of 2008, that had some of the most prolific musicians to ever graduate from the revered institution. Lanre Kunnuji – Trumpet, Tobi Otekayi – Piano, Olamide Timothy – Bass, Tosin Ajayi – Piano, Philip Uzor – Guitar and Aina Olonade among other Virtuoso Musicians who are making waves with music, in South Africa, Europe and America.


Aina as a student at the Muson School of Music

KORALTIMES had a chat with Aina, as he recounted memories of his studies under Maria Aseeva’s tutelage.

“It was a terrific experience to learn under Maria Asseva. She made me look beyond notes. She was very clear about the music she taught, being from Russia and a very detailed musician too, she explained the musical component of the piece and guided me on how to make it sound original. She always emphasized on playing the actually timbre of sound on the Piano”


Aina in his first year recital, as Maria watches him closely from the left

As an African Pianist studying in America and confined to playing several Piano Concertos and Sonatas of Western composers, Aina who is proud of Nigeria, cannot boast of lots of Piano pieces by Nigerian composers, here he calls for composers to begin to explore our rich harmony, complex rhythm, and Melody.

“I am happy to tell anyone I meet here in America that I am from Nigeria, by doing that, I am passing a message. I have plans of performing African music, most especially Nigerian.  I try so much to perform African/Nigeria music here and people always appreciate it, but the problem is, I don’t have lots of our compositions to perform. I hope we can improve on our African melody, a lot of today’s composition I listen to has been greatly influenced by the western melody. We have to make proper use of our own style of instrumentation, harmony, melodic leaps and incorporate some of our local instruments into the Orchestra, to make our music genuine and authentic. Also, we need to be more original. We need to go back to those folk tunes from our villages and start making good use of them. Imagine an Orchestration of a folk tune or an arrangement of a folk tune into a Sonata for Piano. That would turn the world on Nigeria’s path musically. Kenny Oretimehin is doing well on that, Ayo Ajayi is reflecting on it too, we need more”



Aina accompanying the University of Central Missouri Choir in Concert

Aina Olonade was the Music Director of St Jude’s Church, Ebute Meta, Lagos from 2011-2013. He was greatly influenced by Nigerian Pianists Bolaji Omotayo and Korede Omopeloye, both of whom also passed through Maria Aseeva.

He is currently studying the Piano under Mia Hynes at The University of Central Missouri in the USA.


Aina, very obvious in this picture for his skin colour

Waiting to take the world by storm in Piano playing?
You might not be wrong to assume that.

Please put your hands together for;


Ifediora, Obinna Maurice

30 Adenrele Street,
Egbeda Akowonjo,
Lagos, Nigeria.
(±234) 708-708-6669
(+234) 706-338-3135




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s