VICTORIA BACH FESTIVAL NAMES ALEJANDRO HERNANDEZ-VALDEZ ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Acclaimed choral and orchestral conductor, pianist, composer and arranger Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez will become the new artistic director of the Victoria Bach Festival beginning in September, 2016.Hernandez-Valdez
“We are thrilled to name Dr. Hernandez-Valdez to the position after an extensive national search,” said Mary Ann Sawyers, president of the Victoria Bach Festival Board of Directors. “His vision, collaborative spirit and standard of excellence will lead the festival into its next phase of growth.”
Hailed by The Washington Post as a conductor that conducts “with the incisive clarity of someone born to the idiom,” Hernandez-Valdez is cofounder, conductor and artistic director of the New Orchestra of Washington in Washington, D.C. He has collaborated with international artists J. Reilly Lewis, Arturo Márquez, Dana Lyn, Rahel Rilling, Sara Rilling, Duo Alturas, Akemi Takayama, Ryo Yanagitani, Linda Mabbs, Soichi Muraji, Izumi Kamata and others, and has premiered works by Andrés Levell, Javier Farias, and Julian Wachner.
“I’m humbled and excited to join the Victoria Bach Festival family as Artistic Director beginning September 2016. To take the baton from Craig Johnson, one of the most distinguished conductors in the country, is a tremendous honor. I’d like to thank the members of the search committee for this opportunity,” Hernandez-Valdez said.
Hernandez-Valdez also recently was appointed director of music at the historic All Souls Church and artistic director of Musica Viva in Manhattan. Founded in 1819, All Souls Church is one of the largest and most influential congregations in the U.S. 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, Hernandez-Valdez served as director of music at Westmoreland Congregational, UCC in Bethesda, Md., where he led a dynamic and widely respected music program.
In 2011, Cantigas honored Hernandez-Valdez, alongside Septime Weber, artistic director of The Washington Ballet, and Placido Domingo with the firstever “Award for Talent” in celebration of the ensemble’s 20th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the Washington, D.C., mayor proclaimed April 28 “Latinos in the Arts Day.”
In 2013, Hernandez-Valdez appeared twice at Trinity Wall Street in New York City during the Britten100 worldwide celebration organized by the BrittenPears 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 to be released in August. In December 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 throughout Palestine to teach music to underprivileged children.
As a pianist, harpsichordist and organist, Hernandez-Valdez has played under the baton of conductors David Zinman, Sir Neville Mariner, John Williams, Valery Gergiev, Christoph Eschenbach, Helmuth Rilling, the late Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Robert Spano, James Conlon, the late Julius Rudel, the late James DePriest, Jeffery Kahane, Michael Stern, Murray Sidlin, James Ross, Robert Shafer, J. Reilly Lewis, Simon Halsey and the late Norman Scribner.
Hernandez-Valdez’s profile recently was included in a book by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs titled “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 different parts of the world who are leading figures in diverse artistic fields, including music.
The process of identifying a new artistic director for the Victoria Bach Festival began in April. Following the search, Hernandez-Valdez’s appointment was unanimously approved Dec. 9 by the Victoria Bach Festival Board of Directors. Hernandez-Valdez will participate in the upcoming festival in June and officially take his new post Sept. 1.
Hella Johnson, who after 23 years is the longest tenured artistic director in the festival’s history, has taken on the role of conductor emeritus for the Victoria Bach Festival. Michelle Schumann, interim artistic director for the 2016 festival, will retain her role as chamber music director for the 2016-2017 season.