For his second appearance in Fresno, Juan Pablo Contreras rejoins us for a performance of his newest work, MeChicano, co-commissioned by the Fresno Philharmonic.
Juan Pablo Contreras (b. 1987, Guadalajara, Mexico) is a Latin GRAMMY®-nominated composer who combines Western classical and Mexican folk music in a single soundscape. His works have been performed by 30 major orchestras in the United States, Mexico, Slovakia, Colombia, Argentina, and Venezuela. Contreras is celebrated as the first Mexican composer to sign a record deal with Universal Music, serve as Sound Investment Composer with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and win the BMI William Schuman Prize.
Education & Recent Works
Juan Pablo holds degrees in composition from the University of Southern California (DMA), the Manhattan School of Music (MM), and the California Institute of the Arts (BFA). His most influential teachers include Richard Danielpour, Daniel Catán, Nils Vigeland, Andrew Norman, and Donald Crockett, and he currently teaches at the USC Thornton School of Music. Contreras’ music has been recorded on Universal Music Mexico, Albany Records, Epsa Music, and Urtext Digital Classics.
In the 2021 – 2022 season, Juan Pablo’s award-winning work Mariachitlán debuted at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall, with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of the USA.
As CK Dexter Haven described it, “Mariachitlán [the original score] was nominated for a Latin Grammy. It’s easy to see why – Mariachitlán stole the show. The composer is a native of the Mexican state of Jalisco, the birthplace of mariachi music. His homage to that form is unabashedly exuberant, persuasively riffing on folk-like themes without resorting to pandering on the one hand or cold deconstruction on the other. Think Bartok or Mahler downing shots of Red Bull and mezcal while partying with [mariachi singer] Vicente Fernández, and you’re approaching the right ballpark.”
New Music USA | Amplifying Voices
For our 2022 – 2023 season, Juan Pablo’s newest work – MeChicano – was co-commissioned by the Fresno Philharmonic and other symphony orchestras in partnership with New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices program. With over thirty U.S. orchestras signed up to one of the program’s eight consortia, Amplifying Voices facilitates co-commissions and sharing of existing repertoire by BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color) and women composers.
Chiefly, this long-term program aims to increase the support and promotion of under-represented composers, create space for their contributions to artistic planning at major national orchestras, and make major strides toward transforming the classical canon for future generations.
Juan Pablo lives in Los Angeles, and currently teaches orchestration and music theory at the USC Thornton School of Music. A crowd favorite, we are delighted to welcome him back to Fresno in September for this exciting new work.
Conducted by Music Director Rei Hotoda, the Fresno Philharmonic will perform MeChicano alongside Lalo’s Symphonie espangole and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances in our Let’s Dance program on September 25, 2022 at 3:00pm at William Saroyan Theatre. Guest artist Chee-Yun promises to dazzle on the violin. Tickets on sale now. See you there.