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CAF celebrating 20 years with stellar performers

Arts and Culture 05 Feb, 2024 Follow News

Cayman Arts Festival Executive Director Marius Gaina and Artistic Director Glen Inanga

Conductor and Musician John Mclaughlin Williams

Famed trumpeter Rodney Marsalis

Glen Inanga

The Balanas trio of musicians

Pianist Glen Inanga at CAF 2021

Violinist Kristine Balanas Photo credit Albert Cabudoy

Cellist Margarita Balanas Photo credit Albert Cabudoy

Mentoring Cayman students at the Careers Day, photographed with Bruce Gordon

By Lindsey Turnbull

Cayman Arts Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month with a star-studded line up of incredible performances by some of Cayman’s most-loved musicianswho will be wowing audiences from 18 February to 1st March 2024.

Cayman Arts Festival’s Executive Director Marius Gaina said this year they tried to go back in time in a nod to their 20 years anniversary.

“CAF co-founder Glen inanga came up with the idea to bring performers back to Cayman who were at the very first Cayman Arts Festival, back in 2004,” he advised. “The first week will be called ‘Remembering 2004’ with musicians who performed that first year. In keeping with this theme, the second part of the festival will feature friends who were here before at various other times. These are people know what we do here and are part of our family. They come on a regular basis, like famed trumpeter Rodney Marsalis,who works with our kids, so he knows what we do here.”

Attendees can expect some incredible performances, including one with Glen performing with Cayman Youth Camerata, which is a small orchestra of 20 or 30 students in whom the CAF have invested a great deal.

“They will have the chance to perform on stage with some of the overseas performers who will be here,” Marius explained.“One of these events will be a piano, cello, and violin recital on Thursday 22nd February, where the violin will be played by the esteemed musicianJohn McLaughlin Williams.  He performed at our first festival and he will play with Dequan Smith, our finest product of our after school-programme, and they will play along with Glen. So, it will be a really nice combination and a really nice event that will encapsulate the past, present and future of CAF.”

For the first week, among other events, there will be a set of three concerts: on Monday 19th February there will be a piano recital with Glen Inanga and the mesmerizing Russian pianist Asiya Korepanova; on Wednesday,the CAF string orchestra will perform, an entity that was put together by Glen and John which puts eight Cayman string players together with around 12 high level string players who will come to Cayman from places such as Cleveland, Boston, and Detroit.

On Saturday 24ththe audience can enjoy Bach Aria Soloists with Rodney Marsalis, a composition which will enthrall with pieces from Bach to Bernstein, mixing the classics with the contemporary.

In the second week there will be two concerts, the first of which on 29th February will see the marvelous Trio Balanasentertain:Roberts and Kristine Balanas, esteemed violinists from Latvia, along with their sibling, Margarita Balanas, an accomplished conductor and cellist. They will perform with the CAF youth camerata then they will close the festival on 1stMarch with a recital.

Marius confirmed the CAF had grown at a pace no one could have dreamed of, thanks to the appetite for great musical performances by the Cayman public.

“It started as a few days festival in 2004 and slowly moved to a two-week festival in even years, then we added in the odd years an extra ‘baby’ festival with less events but continuing to offer something to the public,” he confirmed. “After 2015/16 we added an after-school programme which now has about 250-300 students. No-one could expect how much we have grown, especially in the past eight years. Now it’s an annual festival with 10-12 days of events. In addition, we have events every month, sometimes twice or three times a month.”

Such is the CAF’s popularity that most events are sold out, with people asking for more, he said.

“Last year we brought in a flamenco dancer and I didn’t expect to receive such great feedback. We reinvent ourselves based upon the public’s needs and requirements,” Marius stated. “So, please support us. We have been going for 20 years in Cayman and we hope for 20 more years. This can only be done only with the community’s help.”

Find out about the CAF’s amazing programme of events by visiting  https://caymanartsfestival.com/caf-2024/

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