Clayton T. Shorkey

Nash Hernandez
The Nash Hernández Orchestra formed in Austin in 1949 and continued to perform into the 2000s as the longest-running big band in that city. Manuel Donley Collection, Texas Music Museum

HERNÁNDEZ, NASH (1922–1994). Nash Hernández, trumpet player and orquesta leader, was born Ignacio Hernández to Abraham and Theodora Hernández on February 1, 1922, in New Braunfels, Texas. He grew up in Fredericksburg and learned to play the trumpet in high school. He began his music career by performing in German polka bands. During World War II, he was a bugler in the United States Air Corps Service. There he played with members of some of the big bands. Hernández married Minnie Salinas in 1944, and they settled in Austin where he played with Matt Velasquez and the Latineers.

Nash formed his own band, the Nash Hernández Orchestra, in 1949, and they played the musical styles of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Perez Prado, and Xavier Cugat. Hernández’s bands played many club dates and weddings and also special events in Austin such as Gov. Dolph Briscoe's Inaugural Ball and Laguna Gloria Museum Fiestas. For a consistent sound and performance Hernández required that all his band members be able to read music. He taught note reading to area Mexican-American youths who went on to play in his orchestra. Numerous musicians played in his orchestra including Dave and Abel Gutíerrez, Manuel Donley, Tim Torres, Ruben Sanchez, and Clifford Zirkel. Other musicians who got their start with Nash included Mike Mordecai, John Mills, Tomas Ramírez, Mitch Watkins, Martin Banks, Paul Ostermayer, and Steve Zirkel.

In the 1970s Hernández started Sonora Royale de Nash Hernández, specializing in the musical style of tropical Latin groups. Throughout his career he played countless fundraisers for charities and politicians. In 1975 he received the title of Ambassador of Goodwill from Gov. Dolph Briscoe. On two different occasions the Austin mayor and city council declared a “Nash Hernández Day”—on October 26, 1975, and July 2, 1993. The Texas Senate recognized him for his many contributions to Texas music, and he received a letter of commendation from Vice President Al Gore in February 1994.

Nash Hernández died on June 26, 1994, leaving behind many who have succeeded due to his generosity. He was survived by his wife and four children. His son Ruben Hernández, a drummer, became bandleader of the orchestra and established the Nash Hernández Orchestra Foundation to award music scholarships to underprivileged children. Hernández was posthumously inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 1999. The Nash Hernández Orchestra was honored in 2001 with the Austin Latino Music Association’s Idolos Del Barrio Award. Festival Beach Road was renamed for Nash Hernández in 2006 as part of East Austin’s Trail of Tejano Legends. In 2008 he was an inaugural inductee into the Austin Music Memorial. In the 2010s the orchestra continued to perform as the longest-running big band in Austin.


Austin American-Statesman, June 28, 29, 1994. Austin Latino Music Association: Trail of Tejano Legends (http://www.dfusionfilms.com/alma/trail.html), accessed July 1, 2008. Austin Light, September 10, 1980. “Austin Music Memorial,” Texas Music Office (http://governor.state.tx.us/music/tour/austin-music-memorial), accessed November 4, 2015. Nash Hernandez Orchestra (http://nashhernandezorchestra.com), accessed November 4, 2015.

Clayton T. Shorkey

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Clayton T. Shorkey, "HERNANDEZ, IGNACIO [NASH]," accessed February 21, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhe85.

Uploaded on October 18, 2014. Modified on November 4, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...