Classical music lovers are in for a treat on Wednesday, 25 April when Grammy Award winner John McLaughlin Williams plays at Music on the Menu. This occasional concert series, organised by the Cayman Arts Festival committee, is being held at LUCA on West Bay Road in Grand Cayman, and will combine musical offerings with a delectable three-course dinner.
A critically-acclaimed violinist and conductor, John McLaughlin Williams is also an active pianist and chamber musician. For Music on the Menu, however, he will be playing the violin and will be joined by Glen Inanga, artistic director for the Cayman Arts Festival, on the piano. Together the two will perform a selection of works titled Rule Britannia, a medley of rarely performed works for violin and piano by British composers.
“Glen and I discussed many things,” explains John, referring to the programme, “and decided to do a programme that reflects the close relationship to and history with the United Kingdom. So many people have ancestry connected with the UK that it seemed to be an attractive programme theme.”
As a musician, John spends a great deal of time travelling and has visited the Cayman Islands many times. “My first time came in 2004 for the Cayman Arts Festival, when I was invited to conduct the orchestra,” he recalls. “Since then I have come to Cayman for performances and to work with the Department of Education in assessing students and adjudicating the Cayman Young Musician of the Year contest.”
John began studying the violin at age 10 in a Washington, DC public school. By the time he was 14, he was making solo appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra.
As a violin soloist, John has appeared with numerous orchestras and has recorded chamber music under various labels. In recent years, he has moved into conducting and has also made some premier recordings, which have brought him international recognition and two Grammy Awards.
“I love them both,” he says of these two disciplines, “but my primary interest now is conducting. There is so much repertoire to be done, and the infinite combination of sounds possible for an orchestra to produce make it endlessly fascinating to me.”
A career in classical music is much more than a job, says John. It’s a lifestyle. Any young people wishing to pursue a musical career need a great deal of determination, he warns. “Be completely dedicated. Be flexible and be broad. Listen to opera and learn how to make your instrument sing. If you really want to be in music, never, never, ever give up trying to succeed. You must be prepared for the long haul.”
Music on the Menu is a fundraising event and all funds raised will go toward the development of the Cayman Youth Choir.
The evening kicks off with a cocktail reception at 6.30pm, followed by musical performances by John McLaughlin Williams and Glen Inanga at 7.30pm, ending with a three course dinner.
Tickets are US$125 / CI$100 and are available at caymanboxoffice.com or from LUCA. For group or table reservations email: [email protected]