Our Spotlight on the Arts is shining brightly on pianist James Fernando!
We were beyond excited to hear that James will perform locally at an upcoming Music from Poplar Hill (MFPH) concert on Friday, September 16th, in Valley Lee, Maryland. Mr. Fernando will be joined by steel-pan artist Victor Provost for an intriguing and innovative combination of instruments seamlessly intertwining for a one-evening-only event.
Our featured artist has been playing the piano and has been involved in his art form for nearly his whole life. As soon as James was old enough to sit properly on the bench and reach the keys, a magical musical journey started! Fast forward 20+ years, and we find Fernando still practicing, still learning, and still just as much in love with the many intricacies of making music, especially in the styles of jazz, classical, and electronic genres.
The Berklee College of Music graduate has several releases to his credit, including Extended Layover, The Lonely Sailor, Blackbird/Fly, and The Grind. James is on faculty at Levine Music in Washington, DC, and is a Strathmore Artist in Residence.
Fernando relates that he dedicates many hours to honing his skills with the ultimate goal of shaping his future version as an artist five, ten, and even twenty years later. Finding inspiration for his craft comes from several sources – sometimes other musical pieces, conversations with friends, or even simply from feelings experienced in nature.
A great joy that James experiences in his art are a collaboration with other musicians, such as Victor Provost, with whom he will be sharing the stage this fall. “I’ve found when I click with another artist, the music we can create is greater than the sum of its parts. Victor is a special and unique musician, and I am honored to be able to work with him.”
The upcoming Music from Poplar Hill event resulted from a connection made by one of their organizers, Eliza Garth, who became aware of Fernando’s work through the Strathmore Artist in Residence program. An invitation was extended for the 2022-2023 season, which James was greatly honored to accept.
When not busy with his musical career, James can often be found at the tennis courts, a sport which he picked up during the pandemic. One benefit he relays is that although the lifestyle of a musician can be challenging at times, working off-peak means never having to wait for an open court!
Thank you, James, for being a valued part of our artistic community; we look forward to seeing you soon at the Music from Poplar Hill concert!
Links of Interest
Website for Victor Provost (in concert with Fernando for the MFPH event): https://www.victorprovost.com/
The Music from Poplar Hill – Jo Ricks Music Series is open to the public and is hosted at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Valley Lee, MD. Tickets are available now at General Admission levels with discounted pricing for seniors 65+ and students (high school/college). Tickets for children ages 5-13 may be reserved for free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.
To learn more about Music from Poplar Hill (MFPH) and the concert scheduled for Friday, September 16th, visit their website at: www.musicfrompoplarhill.org.
James Fernando and Victor Provost will also be hosting a workshop for young musicians ages 12 and older called “Follow the Leader,” focusing on how performers communicate nonverbally when performing together. This workshop will be held the day after the concert on Saturday, September 17 at 10 AM. Info will be available at www.musicfrompoplarhill.org. This workshop is free, but pre-registration will be required.