Marcus Hernandez, musical director
Composer, pianist, and Salsa aficionado, Marcus Hernandez was born with an affinity for Latin music that can surely be traced to the very molecules of his DNA. Growing up in the boroughs of New York City, he was heavily influenced by two local Latin greats: the Grammy Award-winning pianist Eddie Palmieri and Puerto Rican Salsa legend Willie Rosario. Their distinct styles cultivated his love for Salsa which led him to learning and mastering the piano at a young age. In his early years as a musician, Marcus studied under Oscar Hernandez and Gilberto Colon, and more recently with Arturo Ortiz, who was musical director for the Ricky Martin Band and Victor Romero who has played piano for almost all the top Latin Artist.
Hernandez himself emerged on the New York City Latin scene during the late 70’s when the Salsa movement was at an all-time high. A major highlight of his New York career was forming the Salsa group Fuego ’77. The band recorded its first album of the same name, Fuego ’77, under the Alegre label, a subsidiary of the famous Fania Records, and Hernandez composed and arranged eight of the ten songs on the album. Fuego ‘77 became an in-demand supporting act opening for mega Salsa artists such as Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, and Hector LaVoe. The band’s resume included performances at all the top Manhattan Salsa venues including The Corso, Ipanema, Casa Blanca, Casino 14, and the iconic Copa Cabana.
As his career flourished into the 1980’s, Hernandez continued performing and working with various popular Latin artists such as Adalberto Santiago and Rafael de Jesus. After taking a break from performing to focus on a business career, Hernandez moved to Florida in 2005, and found a tropical, steamy paradise ripe for the simmering sounds of Salsa. His new surroundings provided inspiration for his current project, Orchestra Fuego, which has become one of the most sought out Salsa groups in the Central Florida area. And after more than forty years on the Salsa scene, Marcus Hernandez is more enthusiastic than ever about composing his own original music and sharing his lively and refreshing arrangements of classic Salsa songs with audiences worldwide.