Conductor Jessica Bejarano on the choices that led to her career

Posted on: April 26, 2019

“Jessica Bejarano, conductor of San Francisco Civic Symphony, is unlike most conductors at concert halls. She has several tattoos. She’s Mexican-American. And she’s part of the LGBTQ community,” writes Madeleine Brand on Wednesday (4/24) at radio station KCRW (Los Angeles). “Bejarano grew up poor in Bell Gardens in southeast LA, raised by a single mom who worked three jobs…. Classical music … ‘was not part of my education,’ [says Bejarano]…. Then during her first year in college, one rehearsal blew her away. The orchestra was playing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5…. Bejarano ended up getting her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Wyoming, and her Master of Arts in Conducting from the University of California. She then planned to start her Doctorate of Musical Arts … but [was offered the Civic Symphony] conductor job … Her mentors, colleagues, and friends … all told her to take the job, so she did.” Says Bejarano, “By being a minority, by being a woman, I am also, just by standing on the podium, showcasing and being a voice for those other minorities that I represent.” Bejarano will guest conduct the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles on April 27.

Posted April 26, 2019