“One of the great pleasures of conducting is discovering great young artists. Working with John Franek has been one of those great pleasures. His artistry shines in his playing and in his composing. Musically, he breathes with the music, bringing it to life and interpreting the very heart of the work. His compositions are rewarding to me on several levels – most notably they are emotionally very moving and satisfying while intellectually they are wonderfully creative and filled with beauty and life. They are works one wants to hear – and in my case conduct – over and over.”
―Maestro Robert W. Butts, Conductor, Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey
Recipient of the 2017 Clifton Foundation Emerging Artists award; Damien Dixon Scholarship; Andrew Phillips Scholarship; finalist in the Pearl & Julius Young Artist Competition; recipient of the 2011 PBD Foundation Scholarship; and two-time recipient of the PBD Outstanding Young Artist award, John Franek is a pianist and composer who continuously searches for and creates new sonic expressions within the acoustic and electronic worlds. John’s music has been performed throughout the United States and Europe.
While still a student at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, double-majoring in Theory/Composition and Piano Performance (studying with Phyllis Lehrer, Joel Phillips, and Jay Kawarsky), his Concerto for Keyboard and Strings was premiered with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey and his Piano Concerto No. 1 was premiered with the Central Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Victoria Hernandez is an experienced and recognized registered adjudicator of some of the most prestigious music competitions such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Competition.
She is a member of the Canadian Festival Adjudicator’s Association (CMFAA) and has been active with the College of Examiners (Royal Conservatory of Music/Music Development Program) since 1990. She remains an active member of the Ontario Registered Music Teacher’s Association (ORMTA).
Victoria’s music education began at age 5. Her instructors include Boyanna Toyich, James Anagnoson, Joe Ringhofer, Molly Sclater, James Lawless, Dr. Roman Toi, Dr. Samuel Dolin, and Dixie Ross Neill. She graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music with First Class Honors Standing.
Her career in publishing started when she was 16. Victoria’s educational music books have been used in conservatories throughout North America and recognized for their superior pedagogy and quality of composition. As a composer and songwriter of popular music, she was nominated for a Juno award, and a winner of the prestigious Billboard Song Contest.
She is an active lecturer and clinician for both piano and voice.
James L. King III
James LeGrand King III is an award-winning music composer, pianist, and educator. Originally from South Carolina, he has been an active teacher and performer in the Florida Keys since 2008.
He studied at the South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts in 1985 and received his Bachelor’s degree of Music with an emphasis in theory and composition from Furman University in 1990. In 1999, he finished his master’s degree in Music Composition at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.
During the 1990s, he was a musician at Paramount’s Carowinds in Charlotte, NC, and composed and directed music at Kingstree United Methodist Church in Kingstree, SC. His teaching career began in Kingstree and continued when he returned to Charlotte, NC, where he taught at Mars Music.
He moved to North Miami, FL in 1999 and became the #1 piano teacher chain-wide for Mars Music, privately teaching over 75 students weekly, and teaching dozens more in group classes including the Babies Make Music program for infants and preschool-aged children.
James has been a sheet music editor for the Belwin-Mills division of Warner Bros. Publications, Alfred Music, and the FJH Music Company.
In 2008, he accepted a position with Florida Keys Community College as an adjunct instructor of music, teaching music appreciation, music theory, and class piano.
He currently maintains a studio of around 18 students at Island Guitar in Key West and performs regularly.