Manuel Hernández Aguilar was born in San Agustín Tlacotepec, Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca and began his musical studies there in 1988. He graduated with honors from the Conservatory of Versailles and the Facultad de Música of UNAM with professors Philip Cuper and Luis Humberto Ramos. Among others, he is a prize-winning clarinetist of the Leopold Bellan Competition in Paris, the Picardy Competition in Montdidier, the International Music Competition of Buenos Aires, the International Clarinet Association and OFUNAM itself during his student years; he has also been the recipient of grants and scholarships from French and Mexican government agencies.
Manuel Hernández is recognized as the most famous Mexican clarinetist of his generation. He is principal clarinet of the UNAM Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, he pursues a dynamic career as both a soloist and chamber musician as a member of the Concertistas de Bellas Artes and is a professor at the Facultad de Música of the UNAM and at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the Universidad Panamericana.
He has performed as a soloist with orchestras in Mexico, Argentina and Guatemala
and is particularly recognized for his performances of concertos by Corigliano, Françaix (Mexican premiere) and Nielsen, as well as the Mexican premiere of Pierre Boulez's Dialogue de l'ombre double for clarinet and electronics and Sofia Gubaidulina's double concerto Warum? in Mexico and on OFUNAM's 2014 European tour. In 2016, he performed David Hernández-Ramos' world premiere, Under the Heavens, with the National Symphony Orchestra.
He performs and participates frequently as a clinician in major concert halls and festivals throughout Mexico, as well as in Latin America, China, Europe, North Africa and the United states such as, among others, Festival Internacional Cervantino, Coloquio Musical de Zacatecas, Festival Ortiz Tirado, Foro Internacional de Música Nueva "Manuel Enríquez", Festival Cultural Internacional de Música Symphonique in Argel, Festival Internacional de Música Credomatic in Costa Rica, The Meet in Beijing, the Academia Iberoamericana de Clarinete in Castelo di Paiva, the ClarinetFest of the International Clarinet Festival, the Latin American Clarinet Congress in Peru and Brazil, International Clarinet Connection in Boston, Festival International Universitaire in Belfort, France.
As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with partners like pianist Jorge Federico Osorio, violinist Manuel Ramos and the Latinoamericano, Arcano, Carlos Chávez and Mexico Quartets. Before joining OFUNAM, he was a clarinetist with the Mineria Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Teatro de Bellas Artes. He can be heard in an extensive discography that includes: Antonio Rosado's complete chamber music, Chamber Music of Roberto Peña Quezada, Para vientos with Cameristas de México, En una noche femenina with Nadia Borsilova, Contemporary Marimba II with Javier Nandayapa or the chamber opera El pequeño príncipe by Federico Ibarra.
Manuel Hernández plays the Bb and A Muse, the Privilege bass and the Eb Recital clarinets.
Photo credit: Liliana Rivera