George Oniani

Guest Speaker

Percussionist; Co-founder, Ensemble GENI; Artistic Director, Kutaisi Junior Folklore School

George Oniani is a percussionist and artistic director of the Kutaisi Junior Folklore School. 

In 2014 he and his wife, dancer and choreographer Nino Surguladze, co-founded Ensemble GENI, also in Kutaisi, Georgia's third most populous city. The ensemble has since gained a strong reputation in both Georgia and Turkey. In April 2024, the ensemble was honored with a Nominated Star by the Ministry of Culture. GENI is an acronym for the founding family members: Giorgi, Nino, and their daughter, Elene, and son, Ilia. This acronym in Georgian also means “gene.” 

Since age five, George has had the privilege to take classes and perform with one of the best percussionists in Georgia, Gogi Dzotsenidze. Since 1995, he has been working with nearly all dance studios and ensembles in Kutaisi, including the Kutaisi State Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance and the Kutaisi State University Dance Ensemble, as well as the famous Sukhishvil national ballet in Tbilisi, performing both in Georgia and abroad. Since 2022, George has triumphed with the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Vakhtang Kakhidze.