Esteemed conductor and pianist Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez is Artistic Director of Musica Viva NY and Director of Music at the historic Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan. He is also Artistic Director and co-founder of the New Orchestra of Washington, and Artistic Director of the Victoria Bach Festival. He has earned accolades from The Washington Post as a conductor “with the incisive clarity of someone born to the idiom,” as well as praise from The New York Times for leading “a stirring performance” of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. At a concert commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the WWI Armistice (featuring the world premiere of Joseph Turrin’s cantata, And Crimson Roses Once Again Be Fair) Oberon’s Grove wrote: “Maestro Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez drew rich, warm sounds from the musicians” in “a beautiful and deeply moving program.” He is featured in El mundo en las manos/Creadores mexicanos en el extranjero (The World in Their Hands/Creative Mexicans Abroad), a book by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs honoring Mexican nationals who are leading figures in diverse artistic fields. He is the recipient of a 2016 Shenandoah Conservatory Alumni of Excellence Award for his exemplary contribution to his profession, national level of prominence, and exceptional integrity. He resides in New York City.
In 2016, during its 40th anniversary season, Hernandez-Valdez was named the third Artistic Director of the Victoria Bach Festival in Texas. As Mike Greenberg wrote in Classical Voice America: “A big question mark hung over the venerable Victoria Bach Festival two years ago when the brilliant Craig Hella Johnson, its artistic director since 1992, decided to give up the post…Johnson’s successor has replaced the question mark with an exclamation point — perhaps more appropriately, given his Spanish name and Mexican provenance, two exclamation points: ¡Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez!” “The results,” Greenberg continued, “were astonishing.”
Founded in 1977, Musica Viva NY was recently praised by The New York Times as “an excellent chorus.” The ensemble has a longstanding tradition of top-caliber performances, innovative programming, and a strong dedication to the commissioning of new music. Its alumni include Renée Fleming, Samuel Ramey, and Michael Maliakel. Since taking the helm at Musica Viva NY in 2015, Hernandez-Valdez has presented an exceptionally broad and innovative repertoire in each of the choir’s seasons, engaging and inspiring audiences with remarkable interpretations of familiar and new works, and exploring the acoustical capabilities of the historic sanctuary of All Souls Church and other venues on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
As the Artistic Director and co-founder of the New Orchestra of Washington (NOW), a chamber orchestra that “has constituted itself in the forefront of this smaller-is-better movement” (The Washington Post), Hernandez-Valdez has been reimagining for the past ten years what have been the limited definitions of “classical music.” NOW’s innovative programming and creative approach to music performance continues to reshape and enrich the cultural landscape of the National Capital Region.
A passionate advocate of new music, Hernandez-Valdez has commissioned and premiered works by Joan Tower, Arturo Márquez, Joseph Turrin, Gilda Lyons, Seymour Bernstein, Viet Cuong, Juan Pablo Contreras, Elena Ruehr, Ramzi Aburedwan, Jorge Vidales, Mokale Koapeng, Trent Johnson, Javier Farias, Andrés Levell, Zachary Wadsworth, Martin Spruijt, Joel Friedman, and other notable composers.
Hernandez-Valdez’s guest conducting engagements include appearances at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Lincoln Center in New York City, and the historic Degollado Theatre in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he has directed the JaliscoPhilharmonic. As a pianist, Hernandez-Valdez performed for the 2013 Britten100 festival in New York City, organized by the Britten-Pears Foundation to honor the 100th anniversary of the titular composer’s birth. As a composer and conductor, he led the premiere of his own composition, The Imaginary City, a cantata inspired by the life of Ramzi Aburedwan, a violist who has opened schools throughout Palestine to teach music to children in refugee camps. He also arranged and premiered the chamber orchestra version of A Song of Nature by Seymour Bernstein. Mr. Bernstein, the subject of Ethan Hawke’s 2014 documentary film, Seymour: An Introduction, is one of Hernandez-Valdez’s most influential teachers and mentors.