Juanjo Mena, conductor
Juanjo Mena was appointed Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011 and is one of Spain’s most distinguished international conductors.
Juanjo Mena has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa (1999-2008), Chief Guest Conductor of the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa (2007-10), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (2007-13) in Norway.
Juanjo Mena enjoys engagements in Europe with, among others, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Gothenburg Symphony, and Oslo and Rotterdam Philharmonic orchestras.
In North America Juanjo Mena has conducted amongst others the symphonies of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh and returns regularly to the orchestras in Houston and Cincinnati as well as the St. Louis Symphony.
Juanjo Mena’s other activities include touring with the BBC Philharmonic as well as appearances at international festivals including Stars of White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, the BBC Proms in London, the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, Chicago's Grant Park, La Folle Journée in Nantes, Western France.
As a recording conductor Juanjo Mena has recorded a survey of Basque repertoire for Naxos. Recent Chandos releases with maestro Mena conducting the BBC Philharmonic have been awarded Gramophone Editor’s Choice: The Three-cornered Hat by Manuel de Falla, and an album of Gabriel Pierné works. Juanjo Mena’s interpretation of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie with the Bergen Philharmonic for Hyperion Records is said to ‘utterly redefine the terms under which past/current/future Turangalilas need to be judged.’ (Gramophone, October 2012)
Born in Vitoria, Juanjo Mena began his musical training at the Vitoria-Gasteiz Conservatory (Basque Country). He studied composition and orchestration with Carmelo Bernaola and conducting with Enrique Garcia-Asensio at the Royal Higher Conservatory of Music in Madrid, where he received the Prize of Honor. Awarded a Guridi-Bernaolo Scholarship, he pursued further conducting studies in Munich with Sergiu Celibidache.