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Juanjo Mena


Principal Conductor


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Principal Conductor Designate of the Cincinnati May Festival and Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, United Kingdom, Juanjo Mena is one of Spain’s most distinguished international conductors.

Following his recent debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and appearances with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, highlights of Maestro Mena’s 2016-17 season include his debuts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony and the Swedish Radio Orchestra, as well as return visits to Boston, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Copenhagen, Dresden and Oslo, and two European tours with the BBC Philharmonic.

In Europe he has worked with many prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Munich Radio Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic, as well as with all the major Spanish orchestras.  He has been Artistic Director of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, Chief Guest Conductor of the Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa and Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. 

He has conducted most of the leading orchestras in North America, including Chicago, Boston, Houston, Cincinnati, Montreal, Toronto, Baltimore and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

A guest of international festivals, he has appeared at the Stars of White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Hollywood Bowl, Grant Park (Chicago), Tanglewood and La Folle Journée (Nantes). He has led the BBC Philharmonic on tours of Europe and Asia, including performances in Cologne, Munich, Vienna, Madrid, Beijing and Seoul, and performs with them every year at the BBC Proms in London.

His operatic work includes The Flying Dutchman, Salome, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung and productions including Eugene Onegin in Genoa, The Marriage of Figaro inLausanne and Billy Budd in Bilbao.

He has made several recordings with the BBC Philharmonic, including a disc of works by Manuel de Falla, which was a BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month, Gabriel Pierné, which was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, and releases of music by Ginastera, Albéniz, Montsalvatge, Weber and Turina which have gained excellent reviews from the specialist music press. He has also recorded a critically acclaimed rendering of Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony for Hyperion with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.  Juanjo Mena’s Messiaen interpretation is said to “utterly redefine the terms under which past/current/future Turangalîlas need to be judged”. (Gramophone, October 2012).