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, 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. He currently holds the position of Principal Conductor of the Cincinnati May Festival.
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.
Last September 2022, he led the Teatro Real Orchestra (the Royal Opera of Madrid) in its historic Carnegie Hall debut. Recent and next commitments include, among others, projects with the Minnesota Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony, Danish National Orchestra and Oslo Philharmonic.
His latest release is Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 with the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos. Mena’s rich discography with the BBC Philharmonic also includes an acclaimed Gabriel Pierné release selected as a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, as well as recordings of largely overlooked Spanish repertoire.
In 2016, he was awarded the Spanish National Music Award.