Mexican-American conductor Jessica Bejarano’s path to the podium—and the classroom

Posted on: January 29, 2019

On Sunday’s (1/27) PBS Newshour, Joanne Elgart Jennings profiles Jessica Bejarano, 38, who “is leading the San Francisco Civic Symphony, as well as the path for other women like her.… The all-volunteer orchestra is composed of some ninety amateur musicians—ranging in age from 18 to 80.… When she’s not conducting, Bejarano can be found teaching music at University High School in San Francisco…. The Mexican American conductor was raised by a single mother in a tough section of East Los Angeles…. At 10 years old, Bejarano developed an interest in music…. Bejarano: It kept me engaged in school. It kept me looking forward to the next day where I can pull the trumpet out of the case and play in the band. … Music was always there to keep me on a straight path.… At one point … I was asked if I was serious about being a conductor and I said, yeah, absolutely—and the teacher proceeded to say, maybe you should go back to your country because it’s not going to happen in mine. Q: Did it make you more determined? Bejarano: Oh—of course. I allowed every experience to teach me something.”

Posted January 29, 2019