About Juan Manuel Cortez


Juan Manuel Cortez is a professional mariachi arranger, composer, producer, and talented musician internationally recognized as a dedicated teacher, director, and leader in the evolution of mariachi. He is currently the Music Director of Northwest Mariachi Festival in Wenatchee, Washington.

Born in the town of Mexicali, Baja California to a mariachi musician, Juan Cortez clearly articulates the passion of mariachi in his arrangements, compositions, teaching, directing and performance of this musical genre.  Don Jesús Rodriguez de Hijar of the Mariachi Vargas describes Juan Cortez as "el dueño del Mariachi" (the owner of the Mariachi).

Starting his musical career under the guide of his parents, Juan Cortez received his classical music studies from 1970-1979 at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City in trumpet, violin, solfege, chorus, harmony and counterpoint.  From the Conservatory he went on to private music lessons with the Union of Orchestra Musicians in Mexico City.   But his "formal" training in mariachi was typical of aspiring mariachi musicians - at the Plaza de Garibaldi in Mexico City, home to the famous Mariachi Vargas. Here, at the age of 14 Juan Cortez began apprenticing with some of the best, with time and his studies, he gradually attained higher and higher levels in his playing and the rest is history.

Since his early days in Mexico City, Juan Cortez has been a teacher, performer, and arranger. He has written and recorded many scores for films. He is internationally recognized by fellow musicians and his students as a master of Mariachi. Juan has also merged his unique perspective of Mariachi with opera and pop, working with artists such as Placido Domingo, Jenny Rivera, and the Black Eyed Peas. He now lives with his family in California, where he continues to advance the evolution of Mariachi, spinning it in new directions but never loosing the passion that attracts a culturally diverse audience.

For a list of the creative works of Juan Cortez, click here.




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