Juanjo Mena

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Juanjo Mena
Juan José Mena

(1965-09-21) 21 September 1965 (age 53)
OccupationMusical conductor
Years active1997–present

Juanjo Mena (also known as Juan José Mena; born 21 September 1965, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain) is a Spanish conductor. His brother Carlos is a countertenor [1] and his sister Elena is a research chemist.

Mena began his music studies at the Vitoria-Gasteiz Conservatory. He later attended the Madrid Royal Conservatory, where his teachers included Carmelo Bernaola (composition and orchestration) and Enrique García Asensio (conducting). He also studied conducting with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich on a Guridi-Bernaola scholarship. In 1997, the Basque Government selected Mena to form the Youth Orchestra of Euskal Herria. He subsequently became associate conductor of the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra.

From 1999 to 2008, Mena was artistic director and principal conductor of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra. With the Bilbao orchestra, he conducted commercial recordings for Naxos Records of music by Jesús Guridi and Andrés Isasi. His guest-conducting debut in North America was with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2004.[2] Mena served as principal guest conductor of the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa from 2007 to 2010. He was principal guest conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra from 2007 to 2013.[3]

In July 2010, the BBC Philharmonic announced the appointment of Mena as its ninth chief conductor, effective with the 2011–2012 season, with an initial contract of three years, leading twelve concerts per year.[4][5] Mena directed the BBC Philharmonic in four concerts prior to his appointment.[6] In 2013, Mena extended his contract with the BBC Philharmonic for an additional 3 years. He concluded his tenure as chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in the summer of 2018.[7] Mena and the BBC Philharmonic have commercially recorded music of Gabriel Pierné,[8] Manuel de Falla,[9] and of Xavier Montsalvatge[10] for the Chandos label.

In 2016, the Orquesta Nacional de Espana named Mena its new 'Director Asociado' (principal guest conductor).[11] In October 2016, the Cincinnati May Festival announced the appointment of Mena as its new principal conductor, effective with the 2017-2018 season, with an initial contract of 3 years.[12]

Mena and his wife Noemi have two children. In January 2017, Mena was awarded the Medalla de Oro de Álava.[13]


  1. ^ Jesús Ruiz Mantilla (2015-06-15). "Juanjo Mena: 'Chaikovski es para corazones inconformistas'". El País. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  2. ^ "Audience Favorite Juanjo Mena Leads Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Nielsen's "The Inextinguishable," April 15, 17 & 18" (PDF) (Press release). Baltimore Symphony. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
  3. ^ "Edward Gardner ny sjefdirigent for Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester" (Press release). Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  4. ^ "BBC Philharmonic announces new chief conductor" (Press release). BBC. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
  5. ^ "Juanjo Mena named chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic". Gramophone. July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
  6. ^ Íñigo Gurruchaga (2010-07-07). "La Filarmónica de la BBC nombra a Juanjo Mena su director titular". El Correo. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
  7. ^ Maria Roberts (2017-01-31). "BBC Philharmonic announces new principal guest conductor". International Arts Manager. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  8. ^ Andrew Clements (2011-01-06). "Pierné: Piano Concerto; Ramuntcho Suites Nos 1 & 2; etc – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  9. ^ Andrew Clements (2012-02-23). "Falla: The Three Cornered Hat; Nights in the Gardens of Spain; Homenajes – review; Bavouzet/Lojendio/BBCPO/Mena (Chandos)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  10. ^ Tim Ashley (2012-09-13). "Montsalvatge: Calidoscopi Simfònic; Simfonia de Rèquiem/Partita 1958/Cinco Canciones Negras – review; Hughes/Mouriz/BBC Philharmonic/Mena (Chandos)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  11. ^ Alberto Ojeda (2016-05-13). "Juanjo Mena: 'De secundaria debe salirse leyendo partituras'". El Cultural. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  12. ^ Janelle Gelfand (2016-10-21). "New conductor for May Festival". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  13. ^ "El director de orquesta Juanjo Mena recibirá la Medalla de Oro de Álava". El Mundo. 2017-01-17. Retrieved 2017-07-09.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Theo Alcántara
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Bilbao Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Günter Neuhold
Preceded by
Gianandrea Noseda
Chief Conductor, BBC Philharmonic
Succeeded by
(post vacant)
Preceded by
James Conlon
Principal Conductor, Cincinnati May Festival
Succeeded by