Butterfield Young Musician of the Year

From left, runner-up, Cameron Gilson, Michael McWatt, Managing Director of Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited, and Butterfield Young Musician of the Year 2019, Dequan Smith.

Saturday evening saw 11 student finalists from seven of Cayman’s public and private schools perform to a packed audience, including Governor Martyn Roper, his wife Elisabeth Roper, and a panel of international judges.

The 12th Annual Butterfield Young Musician of the Year competition had finalists perform two contrasting pieces, each displaying an exceptional mastery of their respective instruments.

Returning judges Stephanie Williams and Catherine Rand, along with new international judge, Lori Burnett, undertook the difficult task of evaluating each performance by the talented young musicians. When asked about the level of competition, Rand said, “It’s great to see student representation from over half of Cayman’s senior schools. I’ve had the privilege of judging at several of the Butterfield Young Musician competitions over the years, and each time I return it becomes increasingly difficult for us to select only one winner.

“There’s an incredible amount of young talent on this island and I look forward to seeing it grow.”

Cellist Dequan Smith of John Gray High School, thrilled the audience with his renditions of ‘Kol Nidre’ by Max Bruch and ‘Élégie’ by Fauré, and was ultimately named the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year 2019.

The runner-up title was awarded to pianist Cameron Gilson, an A-Level student at St. Ignatius Catholic School, who delighted with his performances of ‘Prelude in B Minor’ by Chopin and ‘Sonatine 2nd Movement’ by Ravel.

The event was held at the Prospect Playhouse Theatre.

“Each year, I feel this competition reaches its zenith, only to return and see the bar has been increased once again,” said Michael McWatt, Managing Director, Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited. “Congratulations to Dequan, Cameron and all our finalists.

“Music is an art form with the power to bring people together and tonight was no exception. Thank you to our partners, the Cayman Islands Government and to the Cayman Drama Society for use of the Prospect Playhouse.”

All 11 competitors received a trophy for their participation on reaching the finals for the 2019 competition. The first place winner and runner-up also received trophies and cash awards courtesy of Butterfield.