Thank you for visiting our website! We are proud to share with you important information about our educational programmes and our concerts, and to give you an opportunity to get to know us a little better.
The Cayman Arts Festival (CAF) concept was born when the internationally acclaimed “Micallef – Inanga” piano duo was invited to perform in Grand Cayman. Following their performance in 2001, the duo decided that the most appropriate response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback that they received was to create a unique festival primarily for the benefit of the Cayman Islands community. Incorporated in 2003, CAF was originally formed as a three day event, committed to bringing world class offerings ranging from classical music to opera and jazz, while ensuring music education was among its core purposes. All visiting artists conduct workshops, master classes and/or concert demonstrations for the educational benefit of Cayman’s youth. These days, still following their original vision, and with a lot of work and support from sponsors and dedicated volunteers, CAF produces a two week annual festival, as well as piano concerts and other ad hoc events during the year, an afterschool programme, and many different projects that serve more than 250 musically inclined students.
We hope that after you have browsed our website, you will have a clearer picture of what CAF means to the Cayman Islands community, and we look forward to welcoming you to one of our events very soon! In the meantime, click here to check out our documentary - 2020: A Retrospective.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMMES
Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, Cayman Arts Festival has been providing extra-curricular instrumental tuition to students from a number of Government Primary Schools across the island for the past five years. These group tuition lessons have targeted students who are musically inclined and have a passion for music, and with instruments provided by Cayman Arts Festival, the results have been spectacular.
Over the years, CAF has been able to present to its devoted audience a significant number of great performers such as Wayne Marshall (pianist, conductor, organist), Glen Inanga (pianist), Jennifer Micallef (pianist), John McLaughlin Williams (pianist, Grammy Award winner), the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble, Cambridge Ensemble, Canadian Brass, Peter Dugan (pianist), String Fever Quartet, Harlem Gospel Choir, soloists of the London Philharmonic Orchestra with the Cayman National Choir, Amy Dickson (classical saxophonist), Danny Driver (pianist), Sodi Braide (pianist), Ingrid Schoenlaub (cellist) and many, many more.
Since 2016, more events have been added to the festival agenda. As CAF continued to invite more talented musicians to the Cayman Islands it became clear that the annual events held in February could not always accommodate visiting artists’ schedules. To ensure that no one would miss out on extraordinary performances that may not be available during the festival weeks, events were added in the autumn, with a major event held in November each year. Among the invitees were Elizabeth Pitcairn (violinist), Catrin Finch (harpist), Sheku Kanneh - Mason (cellist) and Isata Kanneh - Mason (pianist).
In 2016, CAF also began a piano concert series and have presented performances from pianists such as Allie Cortens, Glen Inanga, Matei Varga, Rebeca Omordia, Adam Heron and recently, Martin Roscoe, with all proceeds going toward various projects of the CAF after school programme.
CAYMAN ARTS FESTIVAL2 FEB - 26 FEB 2023
Jazz concert with Jon Weber and Beneil Miller
Jazz pianist Jon Weber has recorded and toured all over the world, winning numerous honors for performance and composition - scoring extensively for television since 1987. Gary Burton, Roy Hargrove, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Avishai Cohen have all recorded Jon’s music, and his critically-acclaimed release, SIMPLE COMPLEX, rose to #1. Jon lives in New York City and hosts NPR’s “Piano Jazz with Jon Weber” after frequently serving as guest host for Marian McPartland. Weber travels extensively as a soloist and as a highly sought music director for top jazz and cabaret performers. (www.jonwebermusic.com/bio)
Music has always been a part of Beneil Miller’s life. Coming from a musical family his journey started when he would strum the guitar strings as his father held the chords. Beneil began formal training at age 8 when he started taking piano lessons. In the years to follow he learned to play other instruments by ear through playing in church, school and in different bands on Grand Cayman. In 2015 Beneil Miller graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree majoring in Professional Music. While in College he focused on studying jazz piano as well developing his song writing skills.
Cabaret concert (Jon Weber, Natalie Douglas, Gabrielle Stravelli, Pat O'Leary)
Natalie Douglas - Please see her bio below. Jon Weber - Please see his bio above.
Vocalist and songwriter Gabrielle Stravelli blends musical traditions with a modern, genre-bending sensibility. The rhythmic swing of jazz frames her original compositions while as an actor and storyteller she reinterprets the Great American Songbook as well as works by contemporary artists as varied as Willie Nelson, Chick Corea and John Fogerty. Unexpected, highly individual choices are her trademark.
Most recently Gabrielle held a two-month weekly residency at Birdland Jazz Club in June & July 2022, opening a new Tuesday @ 5:30pm time slot for the club. In September 2022 she sold out Birdland’s main room with the New York debut of “Mel & Ella swing!”, her new show with pianist/singer Billy Stritch, celebrating the music of Mel Torme & Ella Fitzgerald. Over the weekend of October 21-23, 2022 she sold out six headlining sets in the Birdland theater with her own quintet. (www.gabriellestravelli.com/bio)
Bassist Patrick O’Leary has toured the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Australia, and Japan with a veritable who’s who of jazz greats including Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet, Diana Krall, Hal Galper, Bob Dorough and Teri Thornton. Born in Buffalo, O’Leary studied piano and bass at Potsdam State University’s Crane School of Music earning a BS in Music.
During his tenure as the bassist for the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Pat recorded the Grammy nominated CD “Sentimental Journey” for Atlantic Records. Pat performed with legendary jazz pianist and vocalist Bob Dorough for 20 years. Other leading artists with whom O’Leary has played include Bobby Short, Eartha Kitt, saxophonists James Moody, Junior Cook, Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano, pianists Barry Harris and Junior Mance, and vocalists Joe Williams and Marlena Shaw.
As a US Department of State Jazz Ambassador, O’Leary has toured 11 west African countries, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and South America performing concerts and teaching masterclasses. In recent years Pat has taken a special interest in fusing jazz, classical and ethnic folk music culminating in the “Montenegro Jazz Suite” and his “Serbian Jazz Suite” which featured The Belgrade Radio and Television Orchestra, a 100-member choir and jazz quartet.
Natalie Douglas recital
Called, “a true force of nature,” and "in a league of her own," by Clive Davis of The Times (UK) in his TWO five-star reviews of two different London appearances, Natalie Douglas is a Nightlife, two-time Backstage Bistro, twelve-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) & Broadway World Best Cabaret Vocalist Award Winner and recipient of the Donald F. Smith & Margaret Whiting Awards from the Mabel Mercer Foundation. Natalie’s portrait also hangs on the legendary Birdland Jazz Club Wall of Fame.
Her performances have brought crowds to their feet across the U.S. (Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Café Carlyle, Herbst Theatre, Thalian Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room) and the world (The UK, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Greece, Corsica, Turkey, Monaco, Argentina and Mexico) with many different concerts featuring tributes to Nina Simone, Lena Horne, Nat "King" Cole, Roberta Flack, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis, Jr., Stevie Nicks & Stevie Wonder, Dame Shirley Bassey, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, & Cher as well as shows about Cafe Society, the music of the 70’s and 80’s, songs of various civil rights movements and gospel-influenced jazz and blues.
In addition to her work as a singer/actor, Natalie is a popular & much sought after educator, working worldwide with singers of all ages in her capacity as the master teacher & newly-named Education Director for the Mabel Mercer Foundation. Natalie specializes in diversity workshops & masterclasses for public and private schools, as well as devoting attention to individual study. (www.nataliedouglas.com/about)
Music at the Library - Swanky Kitchen Band
Music at the Library is one of the newest programmes presented by Cayman Arts Festival. These hour-long concerts are tiny gems that you may discover by accident because they are not widely advertised. Once you find out about them, even after just one event, we think you’ll absolutely love them and find it hard to believe to find such great music and poetry in the historic George Town Public Library, a building that normally asks for silence.
Occurring on a monthly basis, the Music at the Library performance in February forms part of the 2023 Cayman Art Festival and will feature Cayman’s own Swanky Kitchen Band - which has the cultural mission of keeping one of the Caribbean region’s most endangered music genres alive. The Swanky Kitchen Band is dedicated to preserving traditional Cayman Islands kitchen dance music, while keeping it fresh for a new generation. You’ll be excused if listening to their music makes you want to get up out of your seat and start dancing.
Julliard Jazz: Duke Ellington Ensemble recital
Duke Ellington Ensemble (Artist Diploma Ensemble), in the spirit of being ambassadors to the world, coached by Ben Wolfe.
Each of Juilliard Jazz’s small ensembles is named after a jazz legend. This does not mean the named ensemble will solely perform the works of that artist, but invoking these names reminds us, and our audience, of our music’s great history and its interconnectedness. In addition, ensemble coaches will incorporate important aspects of each artist’s work into their ensemble teaching throughout the year.
The Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Duke Ellington Ensemble consists of the most experienced performance students in the program and is led by jazz double bassist/composer, Ben Wolfe. Named after Duke Ellington, the iconic jazz composer, pianist and bandleader, the ensemble’s artistic premise is to embrace jazz as an ensemble music, valuing group interaction and individuality as catalysts for creation in the spirit of community. The ensemble sound is informed by the jazz continuum and its own members’ contemporary influences and original compositions.
Concert Alexandra Whittingham (classic guitar)
After studying classical guitar, piano, jazz guitar and composition at the world-renowned Chetham’s School of Music for seven years, Alexandra Whittingham gained a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Having been awarded first class honours and the Timothy Gilson Guitar Prize in 2019, she returned to the Royal Academy the following year to complete her master's degree. She graduated with a distinction, a Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music (awarded for an outstanding performance in a final recital) and the Regency Award for distinguished studentship.
In May 2021 Alexandra released her debut studio album My European Journey, which explores the guitar’s great coming of age in nineteenth-century Europe. The album reached No.1 on the iTunes Classical Chart as well as taking first place on The Presto Chart solely through pre-orders before its release. My European Journey sees Alexandra's passion for nineteenth-century music combine with a love of discovering lesser-known composers and bringing them into the spotlight. Staple works by Napoléon Coste, Giulio Regondi and Luigi Legnani give a warm Romantic embrace to a clutch of unheard miniatures – brimming with character and local colour from Vienna, London, Copenhagen and beyond. (www.alexandrawhittingham.com/about)
Concert Cayman National Choir and Orchestra
The Cayman National Choir is a mixed voice, non-auditioning choir that has been singing in the Cayman Islands for almost 46 years. The choir was founded in 1977 with a small but enthusiastic and dedicated membership. It now has the support of more than 50, still enthusiastic, singers of all ages and from all walks of life.
With varying degrees of formal musical training, all are enthusiastic, keen to embrace new challenges and enjoy themselves. Their repertoire is wide, varied and presented in a professional yet light-hearted manner.
The mission of the choir encompasses: providing a variety of uplifting music for the people of the Cayman Islands and their visitors to enjoy, preserving Caymanian musical heritage, and developing the musical potential of its members and the community.
The formation of the Cayman National Orchestra in 2001 has given much greater scope for the Choir to present programmes of individual pieces, together with extracts from larger works such as Britten’s ceremony of Carols, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
Today, the Cayman National Choir and Orchestra, directed by Sue Horrocks, is a non-government, non-profit organization democratically managed by an elected Executive Committee. Its members are a harmonious mixture of Caymanians and expatriate residents, all of whom are proud to sing in Cayman’s National Choir.
Piano concert with Peter Donohoe
Peter Donohoe was born in Manchester in 1953. He studied at Chetham’s School of Music for seven years, graduated in music at Leeds University, and went on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music with Derek Wyndham and then in Paris with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod.
He is acclaimed as one of the foremost pianists of our time, for his musicianship, stylistic versatility and commanding technique.
In recent seasons Donohoe has appeared with Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and Concert Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonia, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Belarusian State Symphony Orchestra, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He has undertaken a UK tour with the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as giving concerts in many South American and European countries, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Russia, and USA. Other past and future engagements include performances of all three MacMillian piano concertos with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; a ‘marathon’ recital of Scriabin’s complete piano sonatas at Milton Court; an all-Mozart series at Perth Concert Hall; concertos with the Moscow State Philharmonic Orchestra, St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall; and a residency at the Buxton International Festival. (www.peter-donohoe.com/biography)
Drama - ‘Sold’, the story of Mary Prince
OFFIE Award 2022 Best performer in a production - Amantha Edmead
OFFIE Award 2022 Best supporting performer in a production - Angie Amra Anderson
Winner - Best Ensemble Award Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019
“Every so often there is a piece that touches the soul. SOLD is one such show” ***** Music Theatre Review
“To be free is very sweet”
One woman’s journey to overcome the brutality of enslavement through the power of her indomitable spirit. Mary, through her indomitable spirit endured the most vile, barbaric treatment by her owners to inspire the abolitionist to publish her story and galvanise the emancipation of many enslaved Africans.
When one woman tells of her extraordinary journey to overcome the brutality of slavery, she becomes a beacon for the British anti-slavery movement. Born into slavery in the British colony of Bermuda, Mary Prince went on to become an auto-biographer and champion of freedom. Her book had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist movement helping to free many Africans in bondage. Through theatre, song, music, drumming and dance, this masterpiece of Black British theatre is inspired by the storytelling traditions of the West African griot.