EXTRA Cayman Arts Festival Juilliard Jazz Ensemble inspires Cayman

The EXTRA Cayman Arts Festival is in Grand Cayman today, kicking off two weekends filled with special performances starting with the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble.

The ensemble will be conducting master classes and workshops with students here in Cayman today, and the ensemble will perform tomorrow, Saturday, 19 March, in the Marriott ballroom.

“It’s basically a little showcase of what to expect in 2012,” says Glen Inanga, the festival’s artistic director.

Juilliard Jazz Ensemble

The first event of the EXTRA festival is the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble performance sponsored by the Caymanian Compass, Deloitte, Stepping Stones and Ogier.

“It’s a quintet with Juilliard Jazz artistic director, guest drummer Carl Allen and guest faculty member Rodney Jones, and they’ll be performing on 19 March at the Marriott Beach Resort ballroom,” Inanga says.

The five Juilliard players – Clovis Nicolas (upright bass), Joe McDonough (trombone), Kris Bowers (piano), Rodney Jones (guitar), and Allen (drums) – will conduct master classes and workshops with students at St. Ignatius and Clifton Hunter high schools.

“Juilliard’s mission is to provide the highest calibre of artistic education so that students may achieve their fullest potential as artists, leaders and citizens,” says Courtney Blackwell, director of career services at The Juilliard School.

“Juilliard feels that interaction with Cayman Arts festival would help bring this mission to fruition and provide a wonderful opportunity to interact with young music students and a new international community.”

The Juilliard Jazz Ensemble’s participation in this year’s Cayman Arts EXTRA Festival is very important to Cayman as well, according to Mr. Inanga.

“Besides probably being their debut performance in Cayman, it potentially marks the beginning of a long-term relationship that we are hoping to develop over the years to come with The Juilliard School,” he says.

“Juilliard performing in Cayman this year might open doors for our young and talented students interested in exploring opportunities for further studies at this prestigious institution.”

Inspire young Caymanians

Mr. Inanga hopes the performances and workshops will inspire young Caymanians who would otherwise not have access to music of this quality.

“The Juilliard brand is very well respected, and given that the ensemble performing here comprises two Juilliard faculty members and three current Juilliard students, young Caymanians will be inspired by the very high level of performance that the ensemble displays,” he says.

“Particularly from the three Juilliard students in the ensemble that they might more readily identify with.”

The three Juilliard students are some of the best at their education level.

“We hope that young Caymanians will gain an idea of how professional musicians approach their craft in every aspect from rehearsal to performance,” Ms Blackwell says. “It is our hope that through this exposure by the members of Juilliard Jazz, aspiring musicians will be encouraged to follow their passion and expand the breadth of what they see as career possibilities.”

When talking about Juilliard, we’re talking about the highest level of quality of music education and performance.

“The great level of artistry and creativity that they bring to their performances, as well as their willingness and commitment to conduct master classes and workshops with our students here, are some of Juilliard’s best qualities,” Mr. Inanga says.

“The Juilliard Jazz Ensemble’s best qualities can be seen through their professionalism, passion for educating the next generation about jazz music and high level performance ability,” Ms Blackwell says.

Tickets for tonight’s event can be purchased online at caymanboxoffice.com  by credit/debit card before 2pm and cash from DoT offices.

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