Artist Profile: Oscar Hernández
Three-time Grammy Award Winner Oscar Hernández has long been considered one of the most gifted and prominent pianist/arrangers on the contemporary Latin, Latin-jazz and salsa music scene.
Oscar Hernández is the leader of the world renowned “Spanish Harlem Orchestra”. With their five CD’s to date, Oscar and SHO as they are commonly known, were nominated for a Grammy on their first CD “Un Gran Dia En El Barrio”, won the Grammy for their second CD release,” Across 110th Street” and nominated for their third CD “United We Swing”, and winning yet another Grammy with their 4th CD “Viva La Tradición.” Their latest is self titled just “Spanish Harlem Orchestra” featuring jazz greats Chick Corea & Joe Lovano as special guests. Oscar is the leader, music producer as well as pianist/arranger on all CD’s. Since the band’s inception in the year 2001, SHO have garnered numerous awards and world acclaim as one of the finest exponents of Salsa and Latin/Jazz music. Spanish Harlem Orchestra is generally considered one of the best Salsa orchestras today and one of the finest music ensembles in the world.
Oscar’s career as a professional began in the 70’s performing and recording with such seminal artists as Ismael Miranda, Ray Barreto, Celia Cruz, Conjunto Libre, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez & Grupo Folklórico y Experimental Neoyorquino. Oscar was responsible for charting the musical course of the Rubén Blades Band “Seis Del Solar.” Increasingly in demand as a pianist, arranger and producer, the Bronx native has produced such artists as Rubén Blades, Paul Simon, Willie Colón “Carabali”, Daniel Ponce, Rafael Dejesus, Eddie Torres, Phil Hernandez, Steve Kroon, Juan Luis Guerra, etc. and then made a more personal statement with the debut CDs “Decision” and “Alternate Roots” by his band Seis Del Solar, the Rubén Blades Band sans Rubén, and now with his 2X Grammy Award winning band “The Spanish Harlem Orchestra”.
In addition to being Rubén Blades pianist, arranger and musical director, Oscar Hernández has enjoyed a prolific musical career recording and performing with such world renown artists as Latin music king Tito Puente, Queen of Salsa Music Celia Cruz, Latin Pop Star Julio Iglesias, Juan Luis Guerra, Ray Barreto, Earl Klugh, Dave Valentin, Johnny Pacheco, Ismael Miranda, Pete “El Conde” Rodríquez, Oscar D’Leon, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Manny Oquendo & Conjunto Libre, Grupo Folkórico Experimental, Willie Colón, Kirsty MacColl, etc. Oscar’s musical exploits include working as Musical Director/Conductor, arranging and producing the music for “The Capeman,” pop-rock icon Paul Simon’s Broadway musical. In addition, Oscar is also the music producer of “The Capeman” cast recording. Oscar was Musical Director/Arranger for the hit shows “Quien Mató A Hector Lavoe” and “La Lupe” at the 47th Street Theatre. He was also, Music Supervisor/Arranger for the show “Four Guys named José & Una Mujer named María”.
In addition to having firmly established his reputation as an excellent musician and producer/arranger, Oscar has composed music for film having scored the music for the film documentaries, “If The Mango Tree Could Speak” by Pat Goudvis & ”Angela Tiene Un Bebé” by Paula Heredia, HBO’s “Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story” and Cuban Roots/Bronx Stories by Pam Sporn.
In addition to leading New York’s Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Oscar also leads an All Star Salsa Orchestra in Los Angeles and performs with his Latin Jazz Quintet “Alma Libre.” His new quintet CD titled “The Art of Latin Jazz” was released on Origin Records in March 2017. As a musical director/arranger, he is in demand by many of today’s top Latino artists.
Most recently , Oscar is responsible for the orchestrations & arrangements of the new hit Broadway Musical by Gloria Estefan, “On Your Feet”.