Dr. Stefan Walcott

Dr. Stefan Walcott is a world-renowned multidimensional musical creative from Barbados. A pianist, musical and artistic director, producer, composer and academic, his musical dexterity and prowess are well known throughout the Caribbean. He has worked with artistes ranging from David Rudder of Trinidad and Tobago, to Red Plastic Bag from Barbados, and Luther Francois from St Lucia.

As an academic and music educator, the 44-year-old’s zeal for preserving Caribbean musical traditions is a distinctive feature of his work. He has published several books of Caribbean and Bajan folk songs, and his “Caribbean Composer’s Handbook” is a recommended text on the CXC music syllabus.

Dr. Walcott has taken the rich traditions of Caribbean music to the world, as musical director of the musical “Yankee Bajan”, which had its US premiere at a historic theatre in South Carolina last year. He has also worked as a cultural consultant for the Royal Opera House’s “Insurrection, A Work in Progress” with renowned opera singer Peter Brathwaite.

His influence on future musicians permeates his biography. Not only has he worked closely with UWI’s Faculty of Creative and Performing Arts to establish the first undergraduate music program in Barbados, he has also taught music at UWI Cave Hill and the Barbados Community College.

His alumni have gone on to play with the Barbados National Youth Orchestra and jazz ensembles. Many earn livelihoods as professional and semi-professional musicians and work in music publishing.

Dr. Walcott’s production company, the 1688 Collective, is a large-scale ensemble that provides an outlet for musicians to showcase their talent. The ensemble’s production of “Handel’s Caribbean Messiah” has captured the hearts of Bajans, performing to sold-out audiences annually since 2017. It satisfies the thirst of a new concert-going audience for Eurocentric classical music, reformatted in a Caribbean indigenous framework.

Indeed, all his productions have focused on telling Caribbean history through the beauty of diverse Caribbean music. In his own words, Dr. Walcott guides his students to tap into their unknown potential by reimagining traditional music.

His previous awards include Light Performer of the Year at Leeds College of Music in 2002, and GineOn Magazine Awards’ Hip-Hop Song of the Year in 2020.

For his contributions to the reimagining, preservation and elevation of Caribbean music, Dr. Hugh Stefan Walcott of Barbados will be our Arts & Letters Laureate for 2024.