Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) presents

Juanjo Mena Conducts

Known for the dynamism and precision of his conducting, Maestro Juanjo Mena will lead the OSM in a program showcasing the harp. Driven by the distinctive rhythms of Argentinian dances, Ginastera’s Harp Concerto harnesses all the expressive potential of this elegant-sounding instrument. Debussy, meanwhile, gave full scope to his poetic imagination in the triptych Images, evoking, among others, the Spain of his imagination.

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
Juanjo Mena, conductor

Juanjo Mena began his conducting career in his native Spain as Artistic Director of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in 1999. His uncommon talent was soon recognized internationally with appointments as Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic and Chief Guest Conductor of the Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. In 2011 he was named Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, which he led for seven seasons, taking the orchestra on tours of Europe and Asia and conducting annual televised concerts at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. His BBC tenure featured, notably, “thrilling” (The Guardian) performances of Bruckner Symphonies, a cycle of Schubert Symphonies and set new standards for the interpretation of Spanish and South American repertoire. He held the position of Principal Conductor of the Cincinnati May Festival, the longest running choral festival in North America, served by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, until 2023. His tenure reinvigorated the Festival’s repertoire with previously unheard music and new commissions (Julia Adolphe, James MacMillan, Missy Mazzoli, Ellen Reid, James Lee III), and expanded its audience both in numbers and in demographic reach.

A sought-after guest conductor, Juanjo Mena has led Europe’s top ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, London Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic among others. He also appears regularly with all the major orchestras in his native Spain. Following his North American debut with the Baltimore Symphony in 2004, he has conducted most of the continent’s leading orchestras. They include the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Montreal Symphony and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. In Asia, he is a regular guest conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo.

During the 23/24 season, Juanjo Mena returns to North America to lead the Teatro Real Orchestra (the Royal Opera of Madrid) at Lincoln Center, after their triumphant debut at Carnegie Hall in 2022. Other guest performances in North America this season include returns to the New York Philharmonic with Hilary Hahn as soloist, the Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony and Montreal Symphony. In Europe, he returns to the Spanish National Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony, Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and the BBC Philharmonic, while his most recent debuts have included the Dallas Symphony and the Czech Philharmonic.

Jennifer Swartz, OSM Principal Harp

Harpist Jennifer Swartz is passionate about pushing the boundaries of her instrument and spreading her love for harp and music through teaching. She holds two of the most distinguished positions in her field in Canada, first as principal harp for the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM), then as head of the Harp Program at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University.

Jennifer Swartz’s early career began with harp lessons at the age of eight. By age eleven, she had obtained a full scholarship to study with Judy Loman, former Principal Harp of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She also graduated from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, and while still a student at McGill University, she was appointed principal harp with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, where she remained for a year before becoming principal harp of the OSM.

PIERNÉ, Ramuntcho: ‘‘Overture’’ (8 min.)
GINASTERA, Harp Concerto, op. 25 (25 min.)
DEBUSSY, Images, L. 122 (40 min.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at 7:30pm
Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 10:30am Sold Out!
Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 7:30pm

Pre-concert talk at 6:30pm: a concert talk will take place before the April 17 concert. All ticket holders are welcome! (duration: 30 minutes)

To purchase your tickets visit: www.placedesarts.com