Fernando Rocha is professor of percussion at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Brazil. He is spending the 2015/16 academic year at the University of Virginia as a Visiting Scholar at the McIntire Department of Music. He holds a Doctor’s Degree (Doctor of Music) from McGill University, a Master’s Degree (MM) from UFMG, and a Bachelor’s Degree (BM) from São Paulo State University, where he studied with professors John Boudler and Carlos Stasi. His doctoral studies were focused on the performance of pieces for percussion and electronics. At McGill University he studied with D’Arcy Philip Gray and Aiyun Huang and participated as a research assistant in the McGill Digital Orchestra Project, working with Professors Sean Ferguson and Marcelo Wanderley.

As a performer, Fernando Rocha has premiered percussion works by composers such as Douglas Boyce, Lewis Nielson (USA), Almeida Prado, Silvio Ferraz, Roberto Victorio, Sérgio Freire, Maurício Dottori (Brazil), Nicolas Gilbert, Brian Cherney, D. Andrew Stewart, Geof Holbrook (Canadá), João Pedro Oliveira (Portugal). He has also performed many Brazilian premieres, including works by David Lang, John Luther Adams, Martin Matalon, Frederic Rzewski, and Mauricio Kagel. Both as a solo and a chamber music performer, he has appeared in the most important music festivals in Brazil and has also played in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, USA, Portugal, France, Germany and Canada. Ongoing work as a chamber musician includes participation in the contemporary ensemble Oficina Música Viva, which just released a CD with works by Portuguese composer João Pedro Oliveira, and the Duo Qattus with cellist Elise Pittenger, with performances in Canada, the US, and Brazil. He is also the Musical Director of the contemporary ensemble Sonante 21 and the UFMG Percussion Ensemble.

Some recent appearances as a lecturer/performer include the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC/2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014), Transplanted Roots Percussion Conference (Canada, 2015), ZEITKUNST Festival für Neue Musik und Literatur der Gegenwart (Berlin, 2014), the Uruguay Percussion Festival (2012), the Roots and Rhizomes, Percussion Conference at University of California, San Diego (USA, 2007), the “Percussive exchanges” (Echanges percutants! Journées de la percussion du Québec), in Montreal (2007) and the Sound Symposium, in Newfoundland (Canada, 2008), the Patagônia Percussion Festival (Argentina, 2009), the Latin-American Percussion Festival in Uberlândia (Brazil, 2009 and 2014), the Contemporary Music Biennial of Mato Grosso (Brasil, 2010) and Chile Percussion Festival (2011). In 2007 his electronic music concert/clinic at PASIC was featured in the Oct/2007 edition of the Percussive Notes magazine. Fernando Rocha is also the curator of the Contemporary Music Series of Instituto Inhotim (2012 to 2015). In 2004 and 2014 he was also the host of the International Music Festival (FIM) in Belo Horizonte (Brazil). Each edition of the festival presented about 20 percussion concerts and workshops with musicians from Brazil, USA, Portugal, Argentina, France, Italy, Canada and Senegal.

In addition to working with contemporary music, he has played jazz vibes with renowned Brazilian musicians, such as flutist Mauro Rodrigues, drummer Nenen, and guitar player Magno Alexandre. In 1997 he was awarded a scholarship to study jazz vibes with Joe Locke and Stefon Harris in New York, where he played with Bobby Sanabria’s Big Band. Fernando Rocha plays and endorses SABIAN cymbals.

© Fernando Rocha 2015