A crowd of over 130 gathered under the stars on the decking of Grand Old House Saturday for a spellbinding evening of Shubert masterpieces, performed by some of Cuba’s most distinguished classical performers.
UBS Global Asset Management sponsored the event as a fundraiser for Cayman HospiceCare, an organisation that provides free palliative care to dying people in these islands.
The event brought together Luis Molina (guitar), Vicente Monterrey (Clarinet), Barbara Llanes (Soprano) and Liana Fernandez (piano) for a one-night-only performance in Cayman.
And what a performance it was.
Molina and Monterrey – together know as Duo Caliz – began audaciously with a compelling rendition of one of Schubert’s most famous songs, Ave Maria, transcribed for guitar and clarinet. With only the slightest of breezes and a full moon above, the duo then moved on to showcase more of the genius Austrian composer’s better known pieces, including Serenata and Vals Capricho en La Menor.
Soprano Barbara Llanes and pianist Liana Fernandez followed with a dramatic version of Rastlose Liebe as distant thunder sounded across the sea. Llanes, who has performed with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, added to the drama of the setting with her evocative stage presence and powerful though versatile vocal range. Fernandez – a piano professor at Havana’s institute of music, and daughter of Masetro Frank Fernandez – added to the mix, particularly during the manic piano of Gretchen am Spinnrade.
Duo Caliz returned to begin the evening’s second half, showcasing Shubert pieces including Gran Dúo Concernante, Moderato Minuet Lento and Patetico Singara theme. Llanes and Fernandez returned, joined by Monterrey’s clarinet, for a dramatic closing, which ended with Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (the Shepherd on the Rock) may have been the evenings highlight.
The crowd beckoned the pianist and soprano back for more and they didn’t take much convincing. Llanes explained – in fact, insisted – that no musical evening was complete for her without showcasing something from her homeland of Cuba. Their closing, a racy 20’s number, brought the evening’s music to a sensual finale.
Glen Inanga, senior lecturer of Music at the University College of the Cayman Islands, presented the evening, giving insight and a historical context to Schubert’s work and legacy. Importantly, Mr. Inanga’s knowledge and passion for both the musicians and their chosen pieces made the evening’s programme accessible to all in attendance, be they there as Schubert lovers or supporters of one of one of the island’s most important and tireless charitable organisations.
Grand Old House Manager Martin Richter said it was an honour and privilege to team up with UBS Global Asset Management to support important charitable organisations such as Cayman Hospice Care.
‘It was a Triple A performance. You would be lucky to see this calibre of music anywhere you go in the world,” he said. “To see it here, in the Cayman Islands, eating alfresco under the moon and stars, doing it in style like no one else can do it, it’s fantastic. You could only do this in the Cayman Islands.’
Darren Stainrod of UBS said the evening was reflection of UBS’ commitment to the arts, which also includes sponsorship of the Swiss Philharmonic Orchestra and the Art Basel international art festival in Florida this December.
“UBS are intrinsically tied into the arts and this is pretty much the biggest event we can do on the island,’ he said after the concert.
‘It’s humbling. It’s unbelievable. These are internationally renowned stars. It’s just amazing that we can bring them to Cayman and have them in this magical, intimate setting.’
Cayman Hospice Care Chairman Susan Craig explained that it costs over $1,000 per day for the not-for-profit to provide palliative care to dying people and their families.
“The money means a lot to us; every dollar means a lot to us. There are so many worthy charities out there and everyone is fighting for the charity dollar. Tonight we get half the proceeds from the ticket sales, plus someone gave a substantial anonymous donation, which is incredible.’
Cayman HospiceCare is a not for profit organisation, dedicated to providing dignified, quality comfort care, free of charge, to everyone in the Cayman Islands living with cancer or other end-stage diseases. The organisation is committed to enhancing and improving the lives of all those affected by death, and to assuring long-term emotional, spiritual and general well-being to survivors after loss. For more information, or to make a donation, call 945-7447.