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Re-Published from a previous edition
Credit: South Florida video and photography
Credit: Ole Breteron
The post card was promoting his concerts for Veteran's Day in November, Christmas in December, St. Patrick's Day in March, the Miami Youth Orchestra in April, and Juneteenth in June. He had grown dreads and lost a few pounds (perhaps through Yoga) since the promotional photo which explains the delay in me recognizing him in person. I set the wheels in motion for the now completed project and here is what he had to say during our exclusive interview.
Herman -- I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Jay -- When and why did you move to Miami?
Herman -- I actually moved to Miami to further work on my music. This was after finding out I'd won the job at the monastery, and I moved to Miami in 2013. The beautiful weather and natural surroundings, among other things, are what have inspired me to stay.
Jay -- When did you begin playing and composing music?
Herman -- I was four years old when I started taking piano lessons. But I didn't actually start writing music until maybe a decade later or so.
Jay -- What was your primary motivation for pursuing music on a higher educational level?
Herman -- I pursued music in higher education because I knew music was something I was quite interested in, and I figured that studying in college would be a nice way to further deepen my understanding.
Jay -- Who was your biggest influence in composing music, and why?
Herman -- You know that's a really interesting question to ponder. I'd heard so many diverse expressions of creativity and simply wanted to see what I could do myself. It really began as sort of an experiment and has now become a part of what I genuinely enjoy doing. Also, a large part of my composing music is due to the encouragement of my family and some of the teachers I had as well.
Jay -- What question(s) are you tired of answering over and over again?
Herman -- Ha ha; I can't think of any at the moment. Usually, whenever I have discussions about my music or music in general, people are really very engaged, which gives rise to a lot of diverse questions. One question I have gotten a lot though is "how did you get your start" or something similar, which I adore answering.
Jay -- Who is your favorite composer, musician; and why?
Herman -- Well, the answer to that does change from time to time for me, but these days I'm finding myself listening to a lot of Sade and Juan Luis Guerra.
Jay -- I see that you write and perform Bachata from the Dominican Republic; what influenced you to get involved with that genre of music/dance?
Herman -- I had only stumbled upon Bachata after moving to Miami. If I'd heard it before, I simply might have overlooked it. A friend of mine had invited me to some cha cha cha classes that he teaches, and some Bachata had started playing. I found the instrumentation and the rhythms to be so fascinating that I really decided to get more familiar with it, and it just went on from there.
Jay -- How much input do you have in the selection of songs for your performances?
Herman -- I have a lot of freedom insofar as what I choose to perform. Having a background as a music history professor has really taught me to select music for audiences that will not only be eye opening but also informative and inspirational.
Jay -- Do you have any hobbies outside of composing and playing the piano?
Herman -- Yes. The most recent hobby I've added is yoga, which I frequently take at the monastery. The instructor there had invited me to take her class, and so I agreed. It has become a beautiful experience. Eventually, I'd like to explore capoeira [Brazilian martial art and dance] and surfing as well.