String Division, violin
Although born and raised in Minneapolis, violinist Melissa Hernandez has made Pittsburgh her home now for nearly a decade. An active participant in the free-lance scene city-wide and beyond, she has performed at local staples such as the New Hazlett and Byham Theaters, East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Heinz Hall, Benedum Theater, and Pittsburgh Festival Opera. She is a member of the Erie Philharmonic where she had the privilege of sitting guest concertmaster, and the 2019-2020 season finds her also engaged as acting associate concertmaster for the Westmoreland Symphony. Ms. Hernandez has performed with many orchestras throughout her career, including the Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Erie Chamber, Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh, Canton, and Adrian Symphonies. In addition to orchestral playing, Ms. Hernandez performs as part of the Lyra Duo, along with husband Luis Hernandez. They formed the duo in early 2014 and were winners of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Competition that same year. Since then, they have performed numerous recitals throughout the US and Dominican Republic, as well as taught master classes at the collegiate level. Ms. Hernández began lessons at the age of 6 in Minneapolis, studying with Ellen Kim and members of the Minnesota Orchestra, including her mother. She earned her BA at Hillsdale College where she performed numerous recitals both as soloist and chamber musician, in addition to winning the Concerto Competition and soloing with the Hillsdale College Orchestra twice. Ms. Hernández’ international and festival performances include the International Academy of Music Pilsen, collaborations in Great Britain and Spain, MasterWorks Festival, and the Castleton Festival under the directorship of Lorin Maazel. She completed both her Master’s of Music degree and the Advanced Music Studies Performance Certificate under the mentorship of Andrés Cárdenes at Carnegie Mellon University. While there, Ms. Hernández performed with both the CMU Baroque Ensemble, placing third in its annual competition with her piano trio, and the CMU Contemporary Ensemble, with whom she soloed in David Stock’s The Philosopher’s Stone. When not performing, Ms. Hernandez can be found teaching her many students, whether privately or as faculty of the CMU Preparatory Music School or Ellis Music Academy.