Inna Onofrei (Saakova) always loved to draw and wanted to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps to become an artist, but then she fell in love with the music. She discovered a way to paint not on a canvas but with sound in the air. Her personal motto is hand are my brushes, sound is my paint and air is my canvas.
Onofrei is an Armenian-American composer and educator living in the Cleveland area. Her catalogue includes music for piano, choir, chamber ensembles, orchestra, solo instruments, as well as electronic and electro-acoustic works. Onofrei's music has been performed in Russia, the United States of America, and Greece. Among the awards and prizes Onofrei has received for her compositions are Stavropol State Competition for Young Composers, KatePublishing Composition Competition, and HerVoice Composition Competition. One of Onofrei's compositions, written in 1997 about her hometown, Nevinnomyssk, was adopted as the town's anthem.
In 2002, Onofrei earned her Bachelor's Degree in Musical Theory and Composition from Stavropol State College of Arts. In 2011, she earned her Masters of Music degree in Piano Performance from Cleveland State University, where she studied piano with 2007 Grammy Award-winning pianist Angelin Chang. She later went on to pursue her true passion, and earned her Master's of Music degree in composition from Cleveland State University in 2018.
In 2020, in collaboration with Maisy Byerly (illustrator) and Cheryl Williams (writer), Onofrei published an original children's piano album, "Lola's Adventures", inspired by her little dog, Lola. The album is designed to help young students improve their technical and musical skills while having fun learning unique pieces, accompanied by fun little poems and beautiful illustrations.
Onofrei has over twenty years of experience teaching piano, composition, and music theory to adults and children of varying ages and abilities. She instills in all of her students that the most important goal of studying music is fostering a lifetime enjoyment of music.
Onofrei is currently working as a freelance composer and arranger, as well as an educator at Musicologie Cleveland Heights. One of her most recent projects includes an opera based on the Armenian legend "Ara the Beautiful", libretto by Tim Tibbitts.