Donald Shabkie

Pianist, Composer, Teacher

Reviews and References

Before examining Mr. Shabkie's bio, please examine the following reviews and references:

The Item, Sumter (SC) Daily Newspaper, February 20, 2005. "Valentine performance offers variety of classics"
"Pianist Donald Shabkie began the evening up-tempo with the fast-paced Piano sonata in A minor by Domenico Scarlatti. Two later etudes by Alexander Scriabin also showcased Shabkie's direct approach, forgoing dramatics for a studied, forceful musical interpretation, one filled with passionate phrasing and clear articulation".
Review by Jane E. Collins, Special to The Item

Donald is an extremely versatile musician — he is equally at home with Chopin as he is with Celtic music, and his own compositions are wonderfully original, too. What's most striking is the intensity and sincerity with which he plays.
Dr. Alan Weinberg
Concert Artist
Chair of Piano Department
Columbia College

As a playwright, I've had the privilege of working with Don and commissioning him to create many compositions which embrace many genres of music for theatre. His artistry and dedication to quality never disappoint even when we agree to disagree. He has a unique talent for understanding lyric, characterization and the appropriate way to blend various musical styles in the process of developing works for the stage. Most recently, he created timeless compositions honoring the legacy of my former teacher, jazz dance innovator and living legend, Eugene "Luigi" Faccuito.
Karen Setlowe, Playwright

Don and Karen work on music for Never Stop Moving - Luigi's Legacy, a musical based on Luigi's life.

I have had the pleasure of working with Don Shabkie in many musical collaborations over the past twelve years. He is a wonderful pianist, superb composer, and outstanding choir master. His creative musicianship is in evidence with everything that he does. I cherish the opportunities we have had to make music together.
Dr. Les Hicken, Director
Furman Bands
Carolina Youth Symphony
Lakeside Concert Series
Professor, Furman University

Don Shabkie is an electric and eclectic performer. His concerts are always both interesting and exciting.
Lillian Quackenbush
Department of Music
Columbia College

I've been involved with Don's music-making in many situations, from the Emrys Foundation's site-specific modern dance work to jam sessions in a living room to contra dances. He uses his deep knowledge of the creative process to relate with ease and understanding to his audience and to other artists he collaborates with. To work with Don is to work without ego. He knows that all the arts speak of the same things but in different languages. Don is a communicator.
Jennie Wakefield
Emrys Foundation of Greenville
Greenville, SC

Don Shabkie is an outstanding composer, pianist, Irish harpist, accompanist, and coach. I have observed his work in various musical ensembles and he consistently exhibits sensitive musicianship and artistry. His commitment to professionalism manifests itself in his preparation, promptness, and pleasant demeanor. I recommend him highly.
Dr. Bruce Schoonmaker
Professor of Music and Coordinator of Vocal Area
Furman University

Present Work

Dance Musician for the ballet program at South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts

Organist at Memorial Methodist Church, Greer, SC

Active Composer of classical and Celtic music.
Member of Approved Artist Roster, South Carolina Arts Commission
Piano Teacher, piano tuner

As a composer and concert artist, Mr. Shabkie plays the piano, and when performing Celtic music, also plays the Celtic harp.

Previous Posts

Full-Time Dance Musician
Columbia College, 1997 to 2004

Music Director Trinity Presbyterian Church, Travelers Rest, SC, 1991 to 2013

Dance Musician, Carolina Ballet, 2004 to 2006

He has also served as dance musician at:

For recent achievments, please visit the Calendar Page

Notable Past Achievements

He has played ballet classes for the following dancers:


Mr. Shabkie attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and is a 1975 graduate of Furman University where he received a BM (cum laude) in Piano Performance. While attending Furman University, he studied under the late Dr. David Gibson. He has also studied with concert pianists Richard Cass and Ronald Turini (a pupil of Horowitz).

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