Spotlight on Carlos Jiménez Fernández

Welcome to the NYC Ballet's youngest member

Volume 122, No. 6June, 2022

Carlos Jiménez Fernández (photo by Cristina Cutts)

Carlos Jiménez Fernández, a new member of Local 802, recently won the principal trombone audition at the New York City Ballet, making him one of the youngest members ever hired by the ballet. He’s already performed with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera and National Symphony Orchestra of Spain, and he served as guest principal trombone with the London Symphony Orchestra. Carlos began his musical training in Spain, where he performed with a local band in his native town of Algeciras, in the Andalusia region.  He started playing euphonium at the age of six under the tutelage of Amando Herrero, switching to the trombone two years later. As a chamber musician, Carlos has performed and recorded trombone quartet music and is a founding member of Brass22, a brass quintet that has been featured in several performances in Lincoln Center. The musicians of Brass22 attended the American Brass Quintet Seminar at  Juilliard for four years and also appeared at the Aspen Music Festival. Carlos has also been a part of Music Academy of the West and the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra. In addition to presenting world premiers of trombone repertoire, Carlos’ broad musical interests have led to perform on sackbut with the Juilliard Historical Performance group. This summer, Carlos will be at Tanglewood, working closely with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he is very excited to begin a teacher certification program in the Alexander Technique at Riverside Initiative this fall. When not performing, Carlos enjoys reading, the outdoors and spending time with friends.  Carlos earned a B.Mus. from Juilliard, where he studied with Joseph Alessi as a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. Local 802 recently caught up with Carlos for a quick interview about his musical goals in NYC.

Local 802: You are among the youngest players hired by the New York City Ballet in recent memory; in fact, you may be the youngest. How do you feel about joining one of NYC’s top ensembles at such a young age?

Carlos Jiménez Fernández: It’s a thrilling time. I’m really lucky to have this opportunity, to have just graduated from Juilliard and transitioning right to professional life.

How did you get started playing music?

There was always this musical vibe in the family. My dad and my brother aren’t professional musicians, but they had been part of the local band in the city that I’m from in Spain. So at one point, my parents asked, “Do you want to go to the band and see if you like it?” I actually started on marching drums, but I didn’t really connect to them–I wanted to learn how to play a melodic instrument, which led me to the euphonium and two years later, to the trombone.

What thrills you about playing in a ballet orchestra?

It’s really interesting to be part of productions that involve more than a group of musicians playing. And it’s very exciting to play repertoire that doesn’t get played that often in other orchestras. Learning all of this music, particularly now with the Stravinsky Festival that’s going on, and being able to explore all of this repertoire that I wasn’t that familiar with, has been really illuminating.

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve performed so far?

I’m really fond of “Agon,” which has a couple of very nice moments for the trombone. I also got the chance to play “Symphony in Three Movements,” “Firebird,” Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto…all these landmarks of the ballet repertoire.

Besides performing with the NYC Ballet, what are your other musical goals in NYC?

New York City is obviously flourishing with music and art and culture every day and in many places at once — just being in this hub of multicultural experience in music and art is thrilling in and of itself, and I look forward to being a part of it as much as possible.

What are your interests outside of music?

I’m very passionate about the Alexander Technique, which I discovered during my time as a student at Juilliard. I had the realization that I wanted to share its benefits with other people, which is why I decided to become a teacher of the Technique, and I am beginning training for that this coming fall. I also enjoy reading nonfiction, fiction — I’m a big Brandon Sanderson fan and am slowly getting through his books — and puzzles and chess. I’m trying to get more into cooking!

Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fellow union members of Local 802?

I’m grateful to be part of such a large group of colleagues with a robust history of supporting musicians.