From Feb. 5 to 15, venues around Grand Cayman will be alive with the sound of music, when the popular Cayman Arts Festival returns, bringing world-class performers to our shores, and giving local stars a chance to shine.
The biannual festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, with a number of free fringe events added to the 10-day program of musical events, plus a host of educational activities aimed at students, all of which will take place at a variety of venues across the island.
The Cayman Arts Festival began in 2004 when piano duo Glen Inanga and Jennifer Micallef performed in Grand Cayman.
“The response was so incredible that we decided to make it a regular, major, event,” recalls Micallef,
The festival is run as a nonprofit event. It relies on securing sponsorship to cover the costs of bringing international artists on island and remains a biannual festival.
The festival has grown despite budgetary constraints, and in response to popular demand, the eXtra CAF – a mini festival – has been added in the intervening years.
“Despite the current economic challenges, we are very proud and deeply appreciative of the support that continues to be provided by corporations, the respective government ministries and agencies as well as private individuals,” says artistic director Inanga.
This year’s program includes an impressive lineup of visiting professional musicians, and music connoisseurs will delight in the broad range of classical, jazz, gospel and innovative but unclassifiable performances on offer.
The Fringe Events are held in collaboration with the National Gallery and the Visual Arts Society and combine an art exhibition with short musical performances. There will also be a special movie showing at Camana Bay so that even the youngest may enjoy the festival.
The Caymans Arts Festival also aims to instill an appreciation of the arts in Cayman’s younger generations and provide a platform for talented performing artists to showcase their abilities.
“Together we are determined to maintain a constant, positive influence in the community, especially for our young artists as we support and encourage young musicians through free concerts, educational workshops, sponsored events such as Rising Stars, and providing funding for Cayman Youth Choir,” says Inanga.
A series of free events will be held in conjunction with local government and private schools during the festival, giving students a chance to not only enjoy quality performances, but also to meet and learn from professional musicians and dancers.
All the visiting artists will be conducting workshops, master classes or concert demonstrations for the educational benefit of Cayman’s youth.
Also this year the festival is adding a dance element – a weeklong dance workshop in collaboration with the Juilliard School, with a final sharing event at the Harquail Theater on Feb. 14.
“This is a tremendous addition to our festival and we hope to be able to repeat such educational collaborations in future,” said Pam McDonough, festival director.
Thursday, Feb. 6, First Baptist Church, 7:30 p.m.
Four brothers, one string quartet – the likes of which you have never seen before. Billing themselves as the world’s first genetically modified string quartet, the boys combine live beat-boxing with electric instruments and genuine talent for a high energy evening of entertainment.
Friday, Feb. 7, First Baptist Church, 7:30 p.m.
The Mastercard Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Amy Dickson, comes to the Cayman Islands from London. A natural talent, she began playing at age 6 and has gone on to perform around the world and released three recordings for Sony Music, as well as performing at the Brit Awards last year. She champions existing saxophone repertoire, so expect some familiar numbers.
Saturday, Feb. 8, First Baptist Church, 7 p.m.
Famed for the imagination and breadth of his repertoire, the quality of his performances and his unique interpretation of classics and neglected masterpieces, Danny Driver is an award-winning pianist and concerto soloist who has won international acclaim for his recordings.
Elmo’s Musical Adventure: Peter and the Wolf
Sunday, Feb. 9, Camana Bay
A free event, the children’s movie “The Story of Peter and The Wolf” brings together the Sesame Street characters in a tale about the power of music and imagination. Music by Sergie Prokofiev.
Arts Society Reception
Monday, Feb. 10, Pedro St James, 6-8 p.m. Free.
An art exhibition to mark the Cayman Arts Festival’s 10th anniversary. Titled “A Celebration of Music,” all the art displayed will reflect this theme. Local musicians will provide accompanying musical entertainment.
The National Gallery Reception
Wednesday, Feb. 12, The National Gallery, 6-8 p.m. Free.
The closing night of the exhibition “Our Story of Art,” which traces the history of art in the Cayman Islands, will be accompanied by demonstration of French guitarist Yorgui Loeffler’s gypsy jazz style.
Harlem Gospel Choir
Saturday, Feb. 15, First Baptist Church, 7:30 p.m.
Performing contemporary gospel with a touch of jazz and blues, the world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir is synonymous with power vocals, glorious sound and infectious energy. They return this year with more music, more voices and the theme “bringing people and nations together and giving something back.”
Free Schools Concert
The string quartet String Fever will perform at the first Baptist Church for Cayman’s youth.
Sax/Wind Instrumental Workshop
Classical saxophonist Amy Dickson will host this workshop. School TBD.
The Juilliard Dance School will run a weeklong outreach workshop with local government and private schools and dance studios throughout the festival. A final sharing, titled “Education in Motion” will take place on Feb. 14.
Piano Master Class
Young pianists can learn from a true master. Hosted by Danny Driver the workshop will take place at First Baptist Church or St. Ignatius.
This event brings together the finalists of the 2013 Butterfield Young Musician of the Year for a chance to perform in public, at the Prospect Playhouse. Ten individuals, covering a range of ages, have been invited to perform. The event will include piano, trombone, euphonium, violin, steel pan and voice performances.
Visit caymanartsfestival.com for event details and to purchase tickets. Alternatively, email [email protected], or call 929-8663.