Concert pianist encourages young talent

Concert pianist, Vilma Garriga Comas, is making her mark on young musicians.

Last Saturday, 24 June, Ms Garriga’s students performed in an end of year graduation ceremony at the Grand Old House.

Surrounded by friends and family, 14 students from the age of six to 13 showcased their talents playing workbook songs, while the more advanced played pieces from Mozart, Bach and Haydn.

The 45-minute ceremony gave parents the opportunity to watch their children perform and allowed kids an opportunity to hear other students play.

Enthusiastic parents expressed their delight at the success their kids have found with Ms Garriga.

‘Vilma is just wonderful, and great with the kids,’ said Angela Fawkes, whose daughter Sarah, 11, has been under Ms Garriga’s tutelage for a year.

‘I don’t even have to tell her to practice, every time she passes the piano she just sits down to play.’

Ms Garriga has been offering private lessons at her home for the past four years. This was her first concert and she has high hopes for the future.

‘The concert was small and private this year, but next year I would like something bigger,’ she said. ‘The talent is definitely here, and my dream is to get a great pianist out of Cayman.’

Dr. Lana Watler, whose daughter Madeline, 10, has been playing with Ms Garriga for just over a year, is also excited about the enthusiasm her daughter shows towards her music.

‘We bought her a piano after four months of lessons and have increased her lessons to two hour-long sessions a week. People who hear Madeline play always want to know who her teacher is,’ said Dr. Watler.

Playing the piano since she was nine, Ms Garriga graduated from the Superior Institute of Arts in Cuba in 1988. She then went on to play for the opera and spent the next 10 years teaching in Cuba.

Ms Garriga also spent several years in Europe, playing for operas and performing in concerts.

‘I have spent my life studying the piano, and I truly enjoy teaching. I am encouraged because I see some really promising talent,’ said Ms Garriga.

Several of Ms Garriga’s students have performed in local competitions such as the National Children Festival of the Arts, and some have begun their Trinity exams and all have experienced great results.

Ms Garriga’s hope is to promote music and competition on the island as she believes it encourages and gives the student a goal and makes their efforts more important to them.

‘I feel like I am contributing to the culture of the island,’ she said.

Ms Garriga recently participated in the Cayman Arts Festival and she can be heard playing every evening at the Grand Old House or for lessons, she can be contacted at 324-7126.

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