Former Disney composer takes lead role with symphony orchestra
Musicians prepare for October concert in new venue
October 08, 2022
By Zia Zografos
Conductor Charles Fernandez has composed music for Disney television series and movies and has performed on stages across the world. Now he’s taken the baton at the Moorpark Symphony Orchestra. The new music director and conductor started in August. Since then, the community orchestra has moved into a new concert hall at Walnut Canyon Arts and Technology Magnet School and is tuning up for its first performance of the season later this month.
“We’re hugely excited,” said Andy Siditsky, president of the orchestra’s board of directors. “The stage is better suited for an orchestra. And it’s a beautiful auditorium. The (school district) has done a great job upgrading it.”
Fernandez served as guest conductor of the Moorpark symphony at three concerts prior to his hiring. After a monthlong audition trial, he landed the job over two competing conductors. He’s now busy leading rehearsals for the orchestra’s “Celebration of Love in Music” concert Oct. 29.
The show will feature Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” overture, Faure’s “Pelléas et Mélisande,” Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” Suite No. 1, Prokofiev’s march from “The Love for Three Oranges” and Saint-Saens’ “Danse Bacchanale.”
“This is some pretty difficult music,” Fernandez said. “I’m really looking forward to this concert. It’s going to be excellent.”
Fernandez grew up in Louisiana, moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and received his master’s degree in bassoon performance at UCLA in 1987. He lived in Germany for a brief period and was the first bassoonist to win the concerto competition at the World College of Music in London.
He began composing for television and film in 1989. Over the years, he has composed music for animated Disney TV series like “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “101 Dalmatians.” He received two Daytime Emmy nominations for his work on “The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper.” On the big screen, he’s done orchestrations for “All Dogs Go to Heaven 2,” “Babes in Toyland” “The Pebble and the Penguin” and Disney’s direct-to-video film “Aladdin and the King of Thieves.”
Writing music for animated TV shows and films is a terrific training ground for a composer, he said.
“(Cartoons) had to get done very quickly. You had to be very efficient, and you could not waste time,” the 62-year-old said.
Fernandez is excited about leading the Moorpark Symphony down some experimental paths. One piece he has in mind is called “Humor in Music,” an original composition inspired by his time stitching jokes into the music for various animation productions.
He also wants the orchestra to perform a piece inspired by different film scores. “I’m hoping to quiz the audience and ask, ‘What movie is this from?’” he said.
At the Oct. 29 concert, the symphony will play the suite from a 1996 ballet called “The Statue.” Fernandez penned themusic after being commissioned by conductor Gordon Mehling and the Bakersfield Musica da Camera.
The Moorpark Symphony Orchestra is a nonprofit community orchestra. The performances are free of charge, but rely
on donations for funding.
“As a community orchestra, we’re playing because we love music and we love sharing it with the community,” Siditsky said. “We’re serving our community one note at a time.”
The orchestra’s season-opener takes place at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Walnut Canyon Auditorium, 280 Casey Road, Moorpark. A $15 donation is suggested.
For more information, go to moorparksymphony.com. Fernandez’s website is www.charlesfernandez.com.
Concert to premier ‘Moorpark Suite’
May 07, 2022
The Moorpark Symphony Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Fri., May 27 at the Moorpark Presbyterian Church, 13959 Peach Hill Road.
The concert will showcase how “music brings the community together” with a program of American music.
Works include “Festive Overture” by William Grant Stills, “American Salute” by Morton Gould, “Lincoln Portrait” Aaron Copland with narration by John Barlow, and the world premiere of “Moorpark Suite” by Stephen W. Burch, a multimedia experience in partnership with the Moorpark Historical Society.
“Moorpark Suite” is a symphonic experience that presents the story Moorpark’s history through music and video archival images.
Charles Fernandez will conduct the orchestra.
Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $10.
Moorpark Symphony Orchestra is a nonprofit organization and community orchestra. All donations go toward funding performances.
For more information, go to MoorparkSymphony.Org.