Juan R. Ramírez Hernández
Juan R. Ramírez Hernández is a violinist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, a celebrated composer, and Founder and Artistic Director of the Atlanta Virtuosi Foundation, Inc. Under the auspices of this Foundation, he founded the Buckhead Youth Orchestra and Casa de la Cultura-Atlanta, both in residence at Covenant Presbyterian Church. This season marks his 14th year as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra.
Ramírez began his studies in Mexico with Ivo Valenti and Vladimir Vulfman. His studies with Henryk Szeryng began at the age of fourteen and continued as he became his principal mentor in Mexico, the U.S., and Europe. While in Boston attending the New England Conservatory of Music, Ramírez was privileged to study with Joseph Silverstein while under the tutelage of the eminent pedagogue and conductor, Leon Barzin.
Ramírez has performed and conducted in numerous countries throughout Europe and Asia, as well as in Israel and Mexico. He has won numerous awards and honors along the way, including the Serge Koussevitzky and Leonard Bernstein Awards, the Loridans Arts Award, and the Governor's Award in the Humanities.
The distinguished composer-conductor Gunther Schuller stated his "unqualified faith in Ramírez as a violinist and a musical leader of great artistic integrity" and noted that "whatever he undertakes is touched by quality." In 2004, Ramírez was named Lexus Leader of the Arts by WABE Public Radio of Atlanta and WPBA Television for "his outstanding contributions, his pursuit of excellence in music and for his initiating and serving several community music organizations in the arts community."
Known throughout the state as a music advocator and educator, Ramírez founded Music for Success! - an educational program under the auspices of the Atlanta Virtuosi Foundation in partnership with metro Atlanta educational institutions, providing string training by professional musicians to young elementary and middle school children of many backgrounds. He generously volunteers his time, energy, and expertise to music students in the Atlanta area and beyond. He is a frequent guest conductor of the Honors Orchestra sponsored by the South Carolina Music Educators Association.
Ramírez has served on the Board of Directors of the Sphinx Organization and the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, and recently received the World Chamber of Commerce Cultural International Hero Award. He holds the title of “Presidential Professor” at the University of Michigan, the highest honor “given to visiting artists and scholars, recognizing distinguished individuals for their extraordinary achievements.”
Ramírez' compositions have been performed at the 1993 Cultural Olympiad, for Prince Albert of Monaco, and premiered by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In 2015 he appeared as Guest Conductor of the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra and was present for the Mexican premiere of his “Suite Latina” by the Vega Quartet in San Miguel de Allende. Upcoming events include a new commission by the Camarada chamber ensemble of San Diego, California.
What year did you join the ASO?
1973-74 Concert Season
What's on your ASO repertoire bucket list?
Revueltas La Noche de los Mayas; Villa-Lobos Amazonas
Why did you choose your instrument?
At the age of four years old, the violin was the instrument that attracted me for the sound and the many colors that are possible to create.
Any famous people in your family?
David Ramírez Hernández, principal tenor of the Mexican National Opera for 12 years.
Do you come from a musical family?
Yes, as number 9 of a family of 10 children, all of us played an instrument. My father was a guitarist and a singer.
Earliest musical hero?
my first teacher, Vladimir Vulfman
What other instrument do you wish you played?
I play many instruments - at least 10!
What do you wish people knew about Atlanta?
The richness of Atlanta's international community.
What's your favorite Atlanta hidden treasure?