Belford Hernandez, a pianist, conductor, and arranger and composer, is best known for his work as a piano recitalist and choral conductor. His choral arrangements and compositions have been performed nationally by choirs and in festivals.
Belford was born in Nirgua, Venezuela, and grew up in various cities in that country, the only child of Alfonzo Hernandez and Guillermina Hernandez-Brito. He started piano lessons at six with a private teacher and then continued piano study during his elementary school years and studied music theory at a conservatory.
He attended the Adventist Vocational institute of Venezuela, where he led music groups while still a student. In his junior year, inspired by this activity, he decided to be a music teacher and, following graduation in 1991, enrolled at Adventist University of Colombia in South America. He studied piano under Martin Suarez and conducting with Ricardo Pedroza and completed a B.A. in music education in 1996 with an emphasis in those two areas.
After graduating from AUC, Hernandez served as an associate professor in music at the university and as director of choral activities at Luis Amigo University in Medellin, Columbia. He performed in many piano recitals as a soloist and with chamber ensembles in Jamaica, Ecuador, Canada, and the U.S. and served as a piano accompanist with and director of several choirs and vocal ensembles.
Beginning in 2000, he served for ten years as chapel choir director at the First United Methodist Church in Downers Grove, Illinois. In that decade Hernandez toured with its youth choir in several states and Canada. He also served as music director at Montani High School in Lombard and was accompanist for the renowned Anima Singers (formerly the Glenn Ellyn Children's Chorus) of the greater Chicago area.
In 2001, he married Vielza Concepcion, a piano teacher in the Chicago area. Three years later, he completed an M.Mus. in choral music education at VanderCook College of Music, where his principal conducting teacher was Robert Synclair.
Hernandez is currently choral director and piano collaborator for the music program at Downers Grove South High School, Music Director At Hinsdale United Methodist Church, and artistic director of the Cantores Community Choir in the Chicago west suburbs. He is still active locally and out-of-state as a pianist, giving recitals, participating in chamber music, and accompanying artists and groups. He is also a frequent clinician and seminar presenter.
The Hernandez family, which now includes a son, Kevin, resides in Downers Grove, Illinois, where they are active in the Bur Ridge Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Source: Information provided by Belford Hernandez, December 2011.