A Cayman-based piano duo is to perform at one of the most prestigious classical venues in the world.
Glen Inanga and Jennifer Micallef are jetting off-island next week to the world-famous Musikverein in Vienna, Austria where they will perform with the Vienna ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Wayne Marshall.
Micallef and Inanga have been working together for 15 years, having met at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Since then they have developed a reputation during that time with appearances at concert venues throughout Europe, USA, Canada and Japan.
They have also played the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and their recordings have attained critical acclaim worldwide.
Mr. Inanga, who set up and now runs the music programme at University College of Cayman Islands, said that the pair were thrilled by the prospect of playing in one of the world’s great cultural centres.
‘For us this is great as we’ve never played in Vienna before, and this venue has a humungous history behind it – it’s a global cultural icon in terms of classical music. We’re very excited; it represents a real honour for us.’
Mr, Inanga and Miss Micallef set up the Cayman Arts Festival in 2004 and with 2010s arts fest round the corner, the timing of the performance initially worried the musicians.
‘We were apprehensive at first with the festival coming up and taking a week to go and perform could have been disruptive. Rehearsals are intense as it is a very difficult work for pianists and orchestra,’ said Mr Inanga.
He mused that they would be overseeing matters virtually as the digital world makes it easy to stay in touch with work regardless of physical location.
The piece the pair will perform is Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra by Bohuslav Martinu, considered to be one of the most technically-taxing pieces of its kind.
The duo’s standing within the classical fraternity meant that they were first choice to perform; the decision made by organisers picking a pool of many other high-quality duos worldwide.
‘They pick who they think will be the best so it’s all going on reputation. It’s a real plus that we’ve done this work before – we did back-to-back performances in the Czech Republic with the Brno Philharmonic exactly 10 years ago.
‘It was great. This is Czech music and in their blood but it was tough. It’s not for your average amateur orchestra to play – they wouldn’t be able to cope with it – so we are very excited.’
The musicians both return to take the reins of the arts festival, which takes place between 5 and 11 February. Mr. Inanga said that it was more difficult than ever before to launch in the current economic climate but that the festival’s growing cachet and reputation meant that people have responded well.
‘We had to be a little more creative in terms of what we put on so the budgets weren’t prohibitive for sponsors. We’ve maintained the quality but had to work a little harder in terms of programming to ensure it’s just as effective and builds on what we’ve done in the past,’ explained Mr Inanga.