A classical superstar comes to Camana Bay

By Alan Markoff

15 February 2023

Woman poses for camera

It’s not often that a superstar musician comes to perform in Camana Bay.

Make no mistake: In the niche scene of modern classical music, guitarist Alexandra Whittingham is a bona fide superstar. Her debut album, "My European Journey,” reached No. 1 on the iTunes Classical Chart in 2021 and her YouTube channel has more than a quarter of a million subscribers. Her classical guitar performance videos on YouTube have been viewed more 38 million times.

The young English classical guitarist will bring her immense talents to Camana Bay Cinema for a concert performance on 16 Feb. as part of the 2023 Cayman Arts Festival.

Festival Executive Director Marius Gaina said the performance was likely to sell out.

“The Cayman Arts Festival has a long history of bringing top musicians who perform with a variety of instruments and in various genres to Grand Cayman,” he said. “We are overjoyed to bring a classical guitarist of Alexandra's calibre to this year's festival.”

Whittingham, who earned a master’s degree with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, is known for her modern classical guitar interpretations of works from lesser-known 19th-century composers. She has performed live as a solo artist throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, and as a concerto soloist with several orchestras.

Although her appearance at the Cayman Arts Festival is as a solo artist, Whittingham will perform some pieces in her concert with well-known local flamenco guitarist Nathan Herrera.

“The Cayman Arts Festival always likes to include local talent whenever we can and we are thrilled that Alexandra has agreed to perform some pieces with Nathan,” said Gaina.

Cayman Arts Festival
Launched in 2003, the Cayman Arts Festival has continually brought highly accomplished musicians to Grand Cayman. Initially, the Cayman Arts Festival took place every two years in February, but over the past decade, it expanded to include periodic events throughout the year.

In October 2022, the Cayman Arts Festival launched the Cayman Piano Festival with the intention of making it an annual event.

Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, trimmed-down festivals using local musicians took place in 2021 and 2022, but the 2023 Cayman Arts Festival will involve nine events taking place at six different venues between 2-26 Feb.

In addition to Whittingham’s concert, other top highlights of this year’s festival include a performance by Julliard Jazz’s Duke Ellington Ensemble at the Westin on 11 Feb. and a recital by Peter Donohoe, one of the U.K.'s – and the world’s – foremost living pianists on 23 Feb. at St. George’s Anglican Church.

"This year's Cayman Arts Festival is an ambitious endeavour that includes local musicians as well as the visiting performers,” said Gaina. “We're even expanding the arts in this year's festival to include the award-winning musical drama, "Sold - The story of Mary Prince” as our final event at the Harquail Theatre.”

This article was originally published in the February 2023 edition of Camana Bay Times.

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