Chief Conductor, BBC Philharmonic
Manager: R. Douglas Sheldon
Additional Management: Gabriella M. Campos
Management Territory: North & South America, Asia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland
Mena loves to put a singing quality into phrases, to find little bends and breaths within a tempo, to make as big an effort for delicious pianissimos as for thunderous explosions. Baltimore Sun
Mena’s warm-blooded sound, maneuvers, and sharp orchestra discipline lifted Schubert’s symphonic testament up to a level you expect to hear in the greatest European concert halls. Haugesund's Avis (Norway)
The heart of the slow movement was perhaps the most revelatory instance, where cellos and basses march implacably onwards, regardless of the rest of the orchestra’s engagement with the agonies of temporal existence. Mena held the two worlds in perfect balance; it was as though everything beforehand had led to this moment, and everything afterwards would devolve from it. Similarly he drove the first movement fearlessly towards its climactic fierce exultation, while the finale was so eruptive from the word go that what sometimes comes across as mere quirkiness was utterly gripping. Rarely have I heard a Bruckner Sixth that displayed such masterful long-term vision, and never, I think, one that made the work seem so important UK Telegraph
Chief Conductor, BBC Philharmonic
Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in England, Juanjo Mena is one of Spain’s most distinguished international conductors.
Following a season conducting the symphonies of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, Maestro Mena returns to North America for a 2013-14 season that includes the Houston Symphony Gala Season Opening Concert with Renee Fleming and concerts with the Cincinnati Symphony and violinist Augustin Hadelich, St. Louis Symphony and pianist Benedetto Lupo and the Toronto Symphony with violinist Julian Rachlin . . . .
Juanjo Mena’s other activities this season includes a BBC Philharmonic tour through Germany, Austria, Hungry, Croatia, Turkey, and Spain and concerts with the London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Barcelona.
A guest of international festivals, Maestro Mena has appeared at the Stars of White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Hollywood Bowl, Grant Park (Chicago), La Folle Journee (Nantes), and as a regular at the BBC Proms including two separate programs in the summer of 2013.
Throughout Europe, Juanjo Mena has appeared with the Dresden Philharmonic, Munich Radio Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Oslo Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Danish Radio Symphony, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de São Paulo, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and the BBC Scottish Symphony too name only a few.
Recent Chandos releases with Mena conducting the BBC Philharmonic were awarded Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice: “The Three-cornered Hat” by Manuel de Falla, and an album of Gabriel Pierné works. Upcoming releases include works by Montsalvatge and Weber, along with Messiaen’s Turangalila-Symphonie for Hyperion with the Bergen Philharmonic. Juanjo Mena’s Messiaen interpretation 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.