‘Classical music is like breathing’
Libia Hernandez is a conductor whose passionate and communicative style connects with a new and diverse audience. She believes that the power of music, combined with creative entrepreneurship is the way forward for Classical Music.
She wishes to move away from the idea that classical music is exclusively or predominantly focused on a small elite group, and instead looks to cultivate new listeners and an ever-widening group of people to experience classical music as current, necessary and irreplaceable, an enduring force that bridges cultures and continents.
Libia Hernandez is intensely committed to the future of the next generation of young players.
She is founder, artistic director and conductor of the SoundWave Collective, a new, project-based ensemble based in The Hague, launched to create performance opportunities for young, up and coming musicians, singers and dancers.
Through SoundWave Collective she hopes to help young players develop their passion and skills while providing valuable experience they will need and use throughout their professional careers.
Classical music is like breathing for me: inevitable and inescapable. It gives meaning to everyday life.
Forging alliances with young colleagues helps to share knowledge, traditions and experiences as these partnerships explore new ideas and solutions for bringing classical music into the future.
By nurturing young musicians, composers, singers, dancers and artists in a cultural ecosystem where classical music can thrive alongside other music forms, we can develop projects that reflect our cultural diversity and create new collaborative forms and formats.
Libia Hernandez has created a new, innovative programming called cross pollination programming, programming where a full spectrum of styles and genres of music are presented side by side as equal partners.
An approach combining classical music with other genres and art forms, cross pollination programming produces projects that reflect our multiculturalism by combining and blending different art forms and movements, attracting new audiences (those interested in the classical pieces and those in the other music and disciplines, whatever that may be) in the most natural way possible. Our common denominator being the universally understood language of music.
Libia Hernandez was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York City and received her musical education as a bassist and conductor in the United States and Europe.
She exchanged her engineering studies at the City College of New York for a life in music and received her Master of Music at the University of Hartford where she studied with double bass virtuoso Gary Karr.
She was a member of both the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Amsterdam Bach Soloist from 1990 till 2002 and performed under the direction of conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Richard Egarr, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Simon Rattle and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
After a successful career as an instrumentalist she easily transitioned into the world of conducting maintaining the same dedication, passion and integrity in her music making that were her trademark as a player.
She studied conducting with the Finnish pedagogue Jorma Panula in Moscow, while pursuing a degree program at the Hague’s Royal Conservatoire of Music under the tutelage of Jac van Steen and Kenneth Montgomery. She participated in master classes and workshops with Neeme Järvi, Riccardo Muti, Michel Tabachnik and Ilan Volkov.
Libia Hernandez has conducted the Dortmund Philharmonic, The Hague Philharmonic, the North Netherlands Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic and the Brabant’s Symphony Orchestra. She has also regularly served as Assistant Conductor of the Dutch National Opera (DNO).
Libia Hernandez has a special affinity for working with and nurturing young musicians and singers. She was Principal Conductor of the University of Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, “Sweelinckorkest” from 2009 till 2016. She has conducted the Dutch National Youth Orchestra (NJO) and conducted and coached talented young musicians from all over the world at the Bayreuth Festival of Young Artists.
In 2018 she led the European Opera Academy’s groundbreaking production of Jacques Offenbach’s “Les Brigands”, featuring young singers from all over Europe, each singing and speaking in their native language ranging from Dutch, English and French to German, Hungarian, Italian, Serbian and Spanish.
From 2016 to 2019 Libia Hernandez was assistant conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, under chief conductor Xian Zhang.
Libia Hernandez is guest conductor of the Lyceum Mozartiano Institute in Havana, Cuba and has worked and performed with young musicians from the Paulita Concepción Music School, Amadeo Roldán Conservatory and Instituto Superior de Arte in the last four editions of the Mozart Havana Festival. Her production of “L’Histoire du Soldat” was awarded the Best Performance of the 2018/2019 music and theater season in Havana.
In 2024/2025 she will conduct a newly commissioned opera “la Luz Musical, Amadeo Roldán” written by two young Cuban Composers, Jose Gavilondo and Yasel Muñoz. This production will be performed in Havana, Salzburg, Amsterdam and Berlin.
In the Fall of 2024 Libia Hernandez will conduct a new opera written by Monique Krüs, Piratenkoningin at the “Nederlandse Reisopera” Netherlands Touring Opera Company.
Libia Hernandez is a passionate advocate for young musicians, singers, dancers and composers. She is founder, artistic director and conductor of the SoundWave Collective, a new group for musicians, singers and dancers, launched to create performance opportunities for young professionals to help them develop their passion while acquiring experience needed to advance their careers.
Her innovative new programming helps create opportunities for young “makers” to meet and inspire one another, expanding on the group’s creative mission of broadening the artistic landscape for classical music in the 21st century.