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….the kind of evening that makes you feel the conductor has pushed the Orchestra to a new level of achievement... he got the best out of every item on the programme.
- Broad Street Review
Juanjo Mena’s two seasons as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra have already yielded many highlights both at home in Manchester and at the Proms, including performances of Mahler and Bruckner symphonies, a Schubert cycle, several acclaimed recordings on Chandos and a highly successful tour of central Europe.
As one of Spain’s most highly regarded conductors Mena works regularly with all the major orchestras in his home country including the Orquesta Nacional de España, Orquesta Sinfonica RTVE, Orquesta y Coro de Comunidad de Madrid, and the orchestras of Seville, Granada and Gran Canaria. He was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra (1999-2008), Chief Guest Conductor of the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa (2007-2010) and is currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic (2007-2013) inNorway.
Guest conducting highlights include the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Dresden Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestra Filarmónica della Scala, RAI Torino, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Soloists with whom he has worked include Frank Peter Zimmermann, Lang Lang, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Fazil Say, Joshua Bell, Mischa Maisky, Karita Mattila, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Viktoria Mullova, Midori and Truls Mork.
Mena’s future engagements include debuts with the New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, as well as returns to Boston and Philadelphia, the Orchestre National de France, Oslo Philharmonic and Orquesta Nacional de España. He leads the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra on tours of Europe (March 2014) and Spain(May 2014) including performances in Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne and Madrid.
In the field of opera, he has conducted Der Fliegende Holländer, Salome, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Duke Bluebeard and Erwartung. Recent productions include Eugene Onegin (Genova), Figaro (Lausanne) and Billy Budd (Bilbao).
Juanjo Mena has made several recordings with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra on Chandos including works by de Falla (Recording of the Month BBC Music Magazine, CD of the Week The Sunday Times), and Gabriel Pierné (Editor’s Choice Gramophone Magazine) and works by Montsalvatge, Carl Maria von Weber and Turina. For Hyperion he has recorded Messiaen’s Turangalȋla, with Steven Osborne and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and he has recorded the complete collection of Basque symphonic music with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra (Naxos).
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 Honour. He was awarded a Guridi-Bernaolo Scholarship to study in Munich with Sergiu Celibidache. In 2002 he was awarded the Ojo Critico Prize by Radio Nacional de España in recognition of his career and dedication to contemporary music.