Mariachi: making a home in classical programs

Posted on: July 12, 2022

Trumpeter and composer Jeff Nevin (center) performs July 16 with his Mariachi Champaña Nevin as part of the 2022 Mariachi Summit Gala Concert in San Diego.

“In the midst a global pandemic, mariachi music champion Jeff Nevin [held] the 2020 edition of the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation’s International Mariachi Summit Gala Concert … online,” writes George Varga in Friday’s (7/8) San Diego Union-Tribune. “The foundation still gave out more than $25,000 in scholarships, the same amount as in pre-pandemic years. [This year’s in-person event in San Diego] will feature … [music and dance groups] and the San Diego Binational Symphony Orchestra, which is also led by Nevin…. [The] composer, trumpeter, band leader and educator … has devoted nearly 25 years to teaching and promoting the traditional Mexican music style. In [1996 he created] created San Diego County’s first high school mariachi group… Nevin earned his doctorate in music at the University of California San Diego … For his dissertation, Nevin wrote his groundbreaking Mariachi Concerto. He has since performed with the San Diego Symphony and other orchestras…. ‘I don’t claim to be the first person to put mariachi with an orchestra,’ Nevin said. ‘But as far as I know, my concerto is the first serious classical music piece that uses mariachi. The trick was to get both audiences to accept it as classical and as mariachi.’ ”