Young Caymanian selected to attend New York music workshop

Cayman Arts Festival chooses clarinetist this year

Deidra Campbell will be attending Lucerne Music Center in New York this summer. - PHOTO: ALMA CHOLLETTE

A 19-year-old clarinetist is the latest musician in Cayman to be chosen to attend summer music workshop at the renowned Luzerne Music Center in New York.

The Cayman Arts Festival organizers selected Deidra Campbell as this year’s student.

Over the past two years, the Cayman Arts Festival has provided young Caymanian musicians the opportunity to attend the summer music workshop at Luzerne. Violinist Nayil Arana was selected in 2014 and euphoniumist Duncan Anderson in 2015 to attend the workshop to tune up their skills before auditioning for their respective music schools.

Ms. Campbell, who first began playing music in primary school, at the age of 7, said she had not expected to be chosen.

“Back in [primary school] playing an instrument was a privilege. You had to be well-behaved and be doing well in other subjects,” she recalled.

After meeting both requirements, Ms. Campbell, when the time came to choose her instrument, called upon the clarinet, which she has now been playing for 12 years.

But it was not until age 9 that she devoted most, if not all, of her time, to the clarinet.
“I started to take music seriously when I was 9 years old,” she said. “My mom had just died.”

She went on to say that music became her “voice,” a way of expressing herself.

“Music has remained that way ever since, and I am highly committed to it,” she said. “I cannot imagine a life without it. I have been able to find a creative means of expression through playing my clarinet.”

The two-time Butterfield Young Musician of the Year participant is no stranger to performing. As an active member of the Cayman Islands Royal Police Band, she has had the opportunity to play in events like the Queen’s Birthday Parade, Heroes Day, Remembrance Day and various ensembles from jazz bands to concert bands.

In 2010, she also played in the Immaculate Conception Orchestra in Jamaica.

Despite her dedication to the clarinet, Ms. Campbell, has indulged in playing other instruments, including the steel pan bass and four pan.

She has also started to learn to play the saxophone, and take her piano playing more seriously, as she intends to become a music teacher one day. She has already had a taste of teaching, as a music teacher for gifted and talented musicians of Bodden Town and East End primary schools.

In support of Ms. Campbell’s artistic summer in New York, the Cayman Arts Festival is hosting a fundraising piano recital on Thursday, April 21.

“Deidra is a very talented musician who has already displayed all the qualities required to become a professional clarinetist given suitable guidance and exposure,” said Cayman Arts Festival’s artistic director, Glen Inanga.

“We feel that she is ready for this sort of challenge as she has reached a very advanced level on her instrument.”

Mr. Inanga believes that by attending the Luzerne Music Center, Ms. Campbell will receive a level of exposure to intensive music study as she prepares to audition to study the clarinet at overseas conservatories, with “a highly selective audition process.”

“Deidra,” said Mr. Inanga, “has always displayed great insight artistically and is highly responsive to new musical ideas during coaching.”

Thursday’s concert will include works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Chopin by pianist Mr. Inanga. Ms. Campbell will briefly perform at the recital’s opening.

“I am exhilarated to have been chosen to attend Luzerne Music Center this year because it is a great opportunity for me to mature and develop as a musician in training,” said Ms. Campbell, who went on to say that immersing herself among other musicians will continue to encourage and challenge her capabilities.

The Luzerne Music Center’s workshop will run from July 18 through August, for one month.