José Luis Hernández-Estrada

José Luis Hernández-Estrada is a dynamic leader who can move effortlessly from the conductor’s podium to the lecture hall and into the non-profit boardroom. The New England Conservatory’s president calls him “an eloquent advocate for classical music.” The League of American Orchestras recently invited him to invent the future. He’s collaborated in education projects alongside Sir Simon Rattle (the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic), the Van Cliburn Foundation; and published his first book on the revolutionary El Sistema. He votes for the annual classical Grammy Awards and has performed live on Chicago’s classical radio powerhouse WFMT. Sometimes is hard to define his work but easy to discern that he is intensely passionate about sharing the joy of music. “I remember, vividly, the day I chose to study music…I wanted to be an artist,” he says. And it has been an exciting journey. Jose-Luis studied music and the humanities at Texas Christian University (with Tamás Ungár as Lili Kraus Scholar) and the University of Texas Pan-American. He was a conducting fellow at Bard College Conservatory of Music and received post-graduate training at the Conservatori del Liceu in Barcelona. He took part in the New York Philharmonic’s Conservatory Collaborations, an opportunity that allowed him to observe some of the world’s greatest conductors at work. In 2012, he was admitted into the prestigious Sistema Fellows program at NEC—José Antonio Abreu’s TED Prize wish to change the world. He has founded and led flagship El Sistema-inspired orchestras in Mexico and the United States to public acclaim and taught the first college level course on the subject of social action through music. He also keeps a busy guest conducting schedule that includes residencies with both professional and youth orchestras in Mexico City (OFUNAM, Carlos Chávez), Caracas, Hartford, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Recently, at the invitation of Maestro Abreu he joined Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela for their Latin American tour and the Salzburg Festival.

José Luis is currently the program director of Sistema Tulsa at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma and a member of the 2015 cohort of Leading Change in the Education Systems, a professional program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Follow this link to connect with José Luis.
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