Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, Artistic Director
Hailed by The Washington Post as a conductor “with the incisive clarity of someone born to the idiom,” Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez is an acclaimed choral and orchestral conductor, solo and chamber pianist, composer, and arranger. As Artistic Director, Co-Founder, and Conductor of the New Orchestra of Washington, he has collaborated with international artists such as J. Reilly Lewis, Arturo Márquez, Dana Lyn, Rahel Rilling, Sara Rilling, Duo Alturas, Akemi Takayama, Ryo Yanagitani, Linda Mabbs, Soichi Muraji, Izumi Kamata, Tim Park and others, and has premiered works by Andrés Levell, Javier Farias, Joel Friedman, Dana Lyn, John Mackey, and Julian Wachner.
Since August 2015 Dr. 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. Founded in 1819, the Unitarian Church of All Souls is the most influential Unitarian Universalist congregation in the United States. Musica Viva is a professional 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. Previously, Dr. Hernandez-Valdez served as Director of Music at Westmoreland Congregational, UCC in Bethesda, Maryland, where he led a dynamic and widely respected music program.
In 2011, Choral Cantigas honored Dr. Hernandez-Valdez, alongside Septime Weber, Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet, and Placido Domingo, with the first-ever “Award for Talent” in celebration of the ensemble’s twentieth anniversary. To mark this occasion, the Mayor of Washington, D.C. proclaimed April 28th as “Latinos in the Arts Day”.
As a pianist, harpsichordist, and organist, Dr. Hernandez-Valdez has played under the baton of conductors David Zinman, Sir Neville Mariner, John Williams, Valery Gergiev, Christoph Eschenbach, Helmuth Rilling, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Robert Spano, James Conlon, Julius Rudel, James DePriest, Jeffery Kahane, Michael Stern, Murray Sidlin, James Ross, Robert Shafer, J. Reilly Lewis, Simon Halsey, and Norman Scribner.
In 2013, Dr. 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 recently recorded Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony (released in 2015). 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.
Dr. Hernandez-Valdez’s profile has recently been included in a book 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 April Dr. Hernandez-Valdez was presented with the Shenandoah Conservatory Alumni of Excellence Award for 2016, 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 September 2016 Dr. Hernandez-Valdez began his tenure as Artistic Director of the Victoria Bach Festival, replacing Grammy-award-winning conductor and composer Craig Hella Johnson who led the Festival as Artistic Director from 1992 to 2015.