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Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, Brazil
Biography of Rommel Fernandes
Rommel Fernandes became the Assistant Concertmaster of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra in Brazil in August 2009, less than three months after having joined the orchestra as a section first violinist. (Founded in 2008 with musicians from Brazil and various other countries, the MGPO has rapidly earned its place among Latin America's best symphony orchestras.) Prior to this MGPO appointment, Mr. Fernandes was based in the Chicago area where he maintained an active performing and teaching career. He has been a guest performer at MusicNOW, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's contemporary music series. He has also performed in live broadcasts for WFMT (Chicago's fine arts radio station), as well as in solo performances alongside Jacques Israelievitch (Concertmaster, Toronto Symphony Orchestra) and in collaboration with Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble. As a Principal Second Violin (2000-01) and Regular Member (2001-06) of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Mr. Fernandes worked with major conductors and soloists including Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Gidon Kremer, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, Robert Spano and Pinchas Zukerman. As a three-time Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center (2006-08), Mr. Fernandes was concertmaster of the TMC Orchestra under Bernard Haitink and James Levine, and won the chance of performing as a guest musician with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Current and former members of the American, Cleveland, Concord, Muir and Juilliard String Quartets also coached him in chamber music. Mr. Fernandes' performance as first violinist in Mendelssohn's String Octet Op.20 at Tanglewood in 2007 was praised for the "superb playing and aristocratic musicianship... a high spirited, modernist, yet elegant reinvention of a repoertoire staple" (Lawrence Budmen, Music and Vision). Mr. Fernandes was also a participant of the Lucerne Festival Academy (Switzerland) in 2004 and 2005.
Mr. Fernandes earned Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music Degrees in performance, both with Honors, from Northwestern University in the class of Gerardo Ribeiro. He also earned a Bachelor's Degree in performance from the St. Paulo State University, in his native Brazil, as a student of Ayrton Pinto (a former member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and of the New England Conservatory faculty). Violinists Viktor Danchenko, Leonard Felberg, Pamela Frank, Sydney Harth, Malcolm Lowe, Ruggiero Ricci, Jerrold Rubenstein, Kurt Sassmanshaus, Joseph Silverstein and Almita Vamos also coached Mr. Fernandes. He has served as a faculty member at North Park University in Chicago from 2006 to 2009. Mr. Fernandes is a teacher at Música nas Montanhas ("Music in the Mountains"), one of the most prestigious Summer Music Festivals in Brazil.