Alexander Hernandez, Executive Director
Alexander Hernandez had the good fortune of growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where he took full advantage of all the wonderful musical opportunities for which the area is so well known. Coached and mentored by some of the greatest performers and innovators from the Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Count Basie Bands from the time he was in 7th grade, he enjoyed an early and illustrious introduction to jazz. These local legends passed on their work ethic, as well as their passion to inspire future generations, so Alex went on to complete two majors at the prestigious University of North Florida School of Music: Classical Performance (Clarinet) and Jazz Performance (Saxophone).
Alex is now an established classical clarinetist and has performed with several ensembles including the First Coast Opera and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. He is an in-demand jazz musician, performing locally and internationally at festivals including Jazz a Vienne, Umbria, and Montreux. He is a dedicated music teacher with many promising students who have earned All-State recognition. Alex is passionate about the Jacksonville New Music Society as it provides the opportunity to bring together his three greatest desires: to create, perform, and inspire.
Aaron Lehrian, Artistic Director
Aaron Lehrian is a Renaissance man. Beginning at the age of five, he began learning the piano. He first studied the classical repertoire, but soon expanded to jazz and church music. By the age of 10, he was already performing professionally in church and in local venues. As a young musician, he received numerous awards and won a variety of competitions, both as a jazz and classical pianist, including the Walker’s Rising Stars competition and the Justine LeBaron Young Artists Competition, which allowed him the opportunity to perform a concerto with the Florida Orchestra.
Aaron went on to attend the University of North Florida on both academic and music scholarships. Studying under Lynne Arriale, Aaron honed his craft and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies. He now is one of the most in-demand pianists in the North Florida region. He plays in numerous ensembles, including the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, and the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, among many others. He is also a prolific composer and arranger, writing for a variety of instrumentations and genres for groups across the region.
Aaron has worked with such artists as: Jason Marsalis, Michael Abene, Kurt Elling, Randy Brecker, Terrel Stafford, Dick Oatts, Conrad Herwig, Ed Calle, Alon Yavnia, Joca Perpignan, Dave Steinmeyer, Wallace Roney, John Pizzarelli, and Miguel Zenón. Aaron has performed at numerous venues around the country, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montery, and more. He has also attended the Montruex, Umbria, Jazz a Vienne, and North Sea international jazz festivals.
When he is not performing and writing music, Aaron is also an avid programmer. He is seeking to earn his master’s degree in computer science. He is interested in combining his two passions in exciting ways.
Michael Emmert, Director of Development
Michael Emmert, a native of Jacksonville, FL, began his dedicated study of music as a high school student at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. During this time, Michael was exposed to a wide variety of musical genres and engagements, such as performing with the winning ensemble for 2006’s Essentially Ellington Festival competition hosted by Jazz at Lincoln Center and featured in the acclaimed documentary, CHOPS. The foundation of those events led Michael to continue his study of music at the University of North Florida under the tutelage of jazz master, Bunky Green, a past president of the International Association of Jazz Educators. Collegiate studies enabled Michael to perform with artists Joe Lovano, Maria Schneider, Dave Douglas, Kurt Elling and many more.
Michael is currently serving as Adjunct Professor of Saxophone, Jazz Studies, with the University of North Florida’s School of Music and has taught privately for over a decade.
Through his performing career, Michael has performed at many venues/events, including the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, B.B Kings Club in NYC, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center, the Savannah Jazz Festival and more. Michael has worked or currently works with groups like the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Marcus Roberts’ Modern Jazz Generation, the JAX Jazz Collective, LPT and frequently as a sideman.
Outside of his work in music, Michael is employed as a Portfolio Specialist for Fidelity Investments. He works with clients to help save, build, and protect their wealth through a variety of solutions. In addition to his experience with Fidelity, he is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or CFP® Practitioner.
Jordan Thompson, Director of Operations
Jordan Thompson moved across the country, from Washington State to Jacksonville, in 2006. Always an avid supporter of the arts and education, he took every opportunity he came across to support the community. He received his degree from the University of North Florida in Political Science but hasn’t stopped learning or trying new things.
Jordan is excited for the future of the Jacksonville New Music Society and how it will bring the community together. “Let’s learn to love, and love to learn. Then we can all be bigger, better, and brilliant together.”