Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester and Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway, Juanjo Mena is one of Spain’s most distinguished conductors. His previous positions include Artistic Director of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra (1999-2008) and Chief Guest Conductor of the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa (2007-2010).
Following Mr. Mena’s North American debut with the Baltimore Symphony in 2004, he has been re-engaged every year since then by the orchestra. Other recent and upcoming appearances include the symphonies of Atlanta, Cincinnati, Colorado, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Oregon, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as re-engagements with both the Boston Symphony and Chicago Symphony.
Worldwide, Juanjo Mena has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Munich Radio Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano/Giuseppe Verdi, RAI/Torino, RTVE/Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de São Paulo and the Oslo Philharmonic, among others. Future engagements include the Danish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Toulouse National Symphony, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Orquesta Sinfónica de Barcelona, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Festival appearances include the BBC Proms, Grant Park (Chicago), Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles), La Folle Journée (Nantes), White Nights Festival (St. Petersburg), and numerous festivals with the Bilbao Symphony.
Also active in opera, Mr. Mena has led productions of Billy Budd, Eugene Onegin, Le Nozze di Figaro, Der Fliegende Holländer, Salome, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung.
For Chandos, Juanjo Mena’s recent CD of works by Gabriel Pierné with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra was named Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine (March 2011). Future projects include works by de Falla, Montsalvatge and Weber. Mr. Mena has also recorded Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony for Hyperion with the Bergen Philharmonic and a collection of Basque symphonic music for Naxos with the Bilbao Symphony.
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. In 2002, Mr. Mena was awarded the Ojo Critico Prize by Radio Nacional de España in recognition of his career and dedication to contemporary music.