John Gray cellist named Young Musician of the Year

| 07/05/2019
CNS Local Life
(L-R) Runner-up Cameron Gilson, Michael McWatt of Butterfield and Young Musician of the Year Dequan Smith

(CNS Local Life): Cellist Dequan Smith of John Gray High School took home the first-place trophy at the 12th annual Butterfield Young Musician of the Year finals, held Saturday, 4 May, at the Prospect Playhouse. There were 11 finalists competing on the night from seven of Cayman’s public and private schools, with each one performing two contrasting pieces.

A panel of three international judges was tasked with evaluating the performances – Stephanie Williams and Dr Catherine Rand, who have previously undertaken that responsibility, and newcomer Lori Burnett, stated a press release.

Commenting on 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.”

Smith impressed with his renditions of “Kol Nidre” by Max Bruch and “Elegie” by Faure, on his way to being named the Young Musician of the Year. Pianist Cameron Gilson, from St Ignatius Catholic School, earned the runner-up title with his performances of “Prelude in B Minor” by Chopin and “Sonatire 2nd Movement” by Ravel.

“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 of sponsor Butterfield Bank. “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 in the finals. In addition to their trophies, Smith and Gilson received cash awards.

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Category: Arts, Music, Youth

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How wonderful! My heartiest congratulations to all of these wonderful musicians!! The world can never have enough classical musicians.

    David R. Myers