“Distancing ourselves physically but not emotionally”: Minnesota Orchestra, March 2020

“What a wonderful experience for us out in radio-land, social distancing ourselves physically but not emotionally. Many, many thousands of listeners tuned in throughout the 46 broadcast stations in the MPR network. Thank you so, so much Minnesota Orchestra, for letting us hear you play, even though the concert had been canceled. Wow! We deeply appreciate it. You are wonderful musicians and the finest humans.”

Críticas elogiosas del disco de “La Vida Breve” de Manuel de Falla

Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic’s disc of Manuel de Falla’s “La Vida Breve” has been released on the Chandos label. Featuring a stellar cast of Spanish soloists and the RTVE Chorus, it was recorded last June following a performance of the work at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall to mark Maestro Mena’s last concert in Manchester as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic.

Crítica de 5*, Juanjo Mena con la London Philharmonic Orchestra: “La perfecta mezcla de fuerza y finura, en una emocionante celebración de la Primavera”

“Mena directed a performance which had every necessary attribute. Firstly, the playing seemed absolutely flawless. The balance was perfect, choice of tempi was absolutely spot on at every point, there was a heavy sense of menace in the quieter passages and the savagery of the score was brilliantly evoked. It was all just about as good as could be.” (Alan Sanders, Seen and Heard International)

Watch Juanjo Mena’s debut with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Juanjo Mena stepped in to conduct three performances of Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto with Janine Jansen, and Mahler’s Symphony No 1 with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks last week, following the cancellation of Gustavo Dudamel due to illness. Friday’s concert at the Herkulessaal in Munich was streamed live, and you can watch it here:

A round-the-world trip to start the year

It has been a busy and rewarding start to 2017. Having seen the New Year in with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Juanjo Mena made his debut with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and received a warm welcome from orchestra and audiences alike. He then flew to Boston for what was due to be one week with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducting Prokofiev’s Symphony No.1, Weinberg’s Violin Concerto with Gidon Kremer and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.4. Following the cancellation of Christoph von Dohnanyi Maestro Mena extended his stay in Boston to conduct the American premiere of Julian Anderson’s Incantesimi, Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Jean-Frédéric Neuburger and Schubert’s Symphony in C, “The Great”.

The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal: “A real treat”

“Under Maestro Juanjo Mena, the orchestra shone in a cohesion that we have not heard for a long time, which delighted our ears”
“Again, Juanjo Mena demonstrated extreme control, gleaning magnificent solos from the musicians, especially in the wind section”
“This was a real treat to hear such a beautiful version of the masterpiece Daphnis and Chloe”

Juanjo Mena nombrado Director Titular del Cincinnati May Festival

“Juanjo was selected as the May Festival’s Principal Conductor because of his artistry, vision, and experience, along with his collaborative nature and approach,” said May Festival Board Member and Artistic Leadership Search Committee Chair Kelley Downing. “He has a strong track record with both orchestras and choruses, extensive experience with choral repertoire and a passion for the May Festival, its remarkable history and its role in the Greater Cincinnati community today.”

“A magnificent “Leningrad” from the BBC Philharmonic”

“Juanjo Mena conducted the BBC Philharmonic in one of those rare concerts in which clever programming and superb playing combine to produce a truly exhausting and memorable experience.”
“…before the tumultuous last minutes of the symphony, Mena created a powerful sense of stillness, much aided by the excellent pianissimo control of the orchestra.”
“Mena finally indulged the triumphant last pages to their maximum heroism, marking the end of a superb performance.”
(Rohan Shotton, Bachtrack)
“It was immensely moving.”
(Jonathan Payne, Manchester Confidential)

“The New York Philharmonic demonstrated some of their finest playing working under the baton of Juanjo Mena”

“The journey that Mena guided was one worth following. He treated much of the symphony, notably its opening Majestoso, like a force of nature to be unleashed. There was a thrilling tidal quality to the music’s progression …” (Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review)

“This was a singularly stunning performance”
“The outcome was a joy, real joy” (Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet)

“The audience was suitably dazzled” after Juanjo Mena’s last concert of the season

“…One of the most exciting and uplifting concerts I have attended for some time.” (Frances Wilson, Bachtrack)
“Here, the Three Mantras almost achieved the impossible and upstaged that brazenly voluptuous masterpiece, Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony, which was exuberantly performed under Juanjo Mena’s direction, with Steven Osborne cascading brilliantly on the piano and Valérie Hartmann-Claverie conjuring sounds from a kitsch parallel universe on Ondes Martenot.” (Richard Morrison, The Times)
“With Valérie Hartmann-Claverie on ondes martenot, Steven Osborne at the piano, and Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic on top form, Messiaen’s extraordinary work came over with megawatt radiance”. (Michael Church, The Independent)