Hailed by The Washington Post as a conductor “with the incisive clarity of someone born to the idiom” and praised by The New York Times for leading “a stirring performance” of Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms, Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez is an acclaimed conductor, pianist, composer, and arranger based in New York City and Washington DC. As the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the New Orchestra of Washington (NOW), a chamber orchestra that, according to the Washington Post, “has constituted itself in the forefront of the smaller-is-better movement,” Hernandez-Valdez continuously collaborates with soloists, artists, composers, and arrangers of international reputation.
Since August 2015, Hernandez-Valdez has been Director of Music at the historic Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan where he also serves as Artistic Director of Musica Viva NY. Founded in 1819, the Unitarian Church of All Souls is the most influential Unitarian Universalist congregation in the United States. Musica Viva NY is a choral ensemble founded in 1977 with a long tradition of top-caliber performances, innovative programing, and a strong dedication to the commissioning of new works. Legendary singers Renée Fleming and Samuel Ramey are past members of Musica Viva NY.
In 2013, Hernandez-Valdez appeared twice at Trinity Wall Street in New York City during the Britten100 worldwide celebration, which was organized by the Britten-Pears Foundation in honor of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. With the New Orchestra of Washington he recorded Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony (released in 2015). A second CD with works commissioned and premiered by NOW by American composers Julian Wachner, Elena Ruehr, and Joel Friedman is scheduled for release in October 2017. In December of 2014 he composed and premiered “The Imaginary City,” a cantata for soloists, choir, and orchestra inspired by the life of Ramzi Aburedwan, a violist who has opened music schools through Palestine to teach music to underprivileged children. In 2017, Hernandez-Valdez arranged and premiered the chamber orchestra version of Seymour Bernstein’s “A Song of Nature.” Mr. Bernstein, the subject of Ethan Hawke’s 2014 documentary film “Seymour: An Introduction,” is currently Hernandez-Valdez’s most influential teacher and mentor.
Hernandez-Valdez’s profile has been included in a publication by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs entitled El mundo en las manos/Creadores mexicanos en el extranjero (The World in Their Hands/Creative Mexicans Abroad), which features successful Mexican nationals residing in diverse parts of the world who are leading figures in diverse artistic fields, including music. In 2016 Hernandez-Valdez was presented with the Shenandoah Conservatory Alumni of Excellence Award, which is bestowed to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to their profession, attained a national level of prominence within their fields, and demonstrated exceptional integrity.
In 2016, Hernandez-Valdez was named the fourth Artistic Director of the Victoria Bach Festival (founded in 1976). Critic 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 had considerable stature as the founding artistic director of Conspirare, the Grammy-winning professional chorus based in Austin”…”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,” Mr. Greenberg declares, “were astonishing.”