Conductor Alondra de la Parra has gained widespread attention for her spellbinding and vibrant performances, making her one of the most compelling conductors of her generation. She holds the distinction of being the first Mexican woman to conduct in New York City, and is an official Cultural Ambassador for Mexican Tourism. She has been heralded by Plácido Domingo as "an extraordinary conductor. Upcoming highlights include performances with the Grosses Orchester Graz, Tokyo Philharmonic, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, MDR Leipzig and Orchestre National de Lyon. She has recently been named Music Director of the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra.
"De la Parra's conducting style must be seen to be believed," raved the San Antonio News Express. "Her electric, precise and energetic fluidity generated arches of breathtaking, glowing expression. The driving Beethoven rhythms pulled the audience to its feet at the end. If people still wore hats, they would have been tossed toward the theater's night-sky ceiling."
Born in New York City in 1980, De la Parra moved to Mexico with her parents at age two. She began playing the piano at age seven and the cello at 13, and it was that year that she decided she wanted to be a conductor. At 15, she went to boarding school in England to study music and achieved her A-levels there. After returning to Mexico, she studied composition at Centro De Investigación y Estudios Musicales (Center of Music Studies, CIEM) in Mexico City before moving to New York City at age 19, and attending the Manhattan School of Music where she studied piano with Jeffrey Cohen and conducting with Kenneth Kiesler.
Alondra de la Parra founded the New York-based Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (POA) in 2004 when she was 23. Her mission was to create an orchestra that would serve as a platform to showcase young performers and composers from the Americas, giving music from the Americas an unquestioned place in the standard orchestral repertoire. POA has been a remarkable success story, and now tours Mexico frequently, presents an annual concert season in New York City, and has its summer home at the Music Festival of the Americas in Stowe, Vermont. In 2010, De la Parra and POA performed during Mexico's national celebration of the country's Bicentennial at the Columna a la Independencia (El Ángel). The celebration was attended by hundreds of thousands and broadcast internationally to an estimated 200 million households around the world.
De la Parra's debut recording Mi Alma Mexicana ("My Mexican Soul") with POA was released by Sony Classical in 2010. The 2-CD set celebrates the 2010 Mexican Bicentennial with 200 years of Mexican orchestral music, some of it never before commercially available. The disc was among the top 10 on the US Billboard Classical Chart when it was released, and in Mexico earned "Disco de Platino " (Platinum Record) status in less than two months - a first for a classical recording in Mexico in more than a decade. .
Over just the past five years De la Parra has been featured on NBC's Today Show, in Crain's New York Business as one of their "40 under 40 New York's Rising Stars," singled out in The Daily Beast as one of the "Young Rockstars of the Conducting World," graced the cover of Caras magazine, been the subject of a major feature in The New York Times, recognized by Poder magazine as one of their "Top 20 under 40," and named as one of six "Young Artists on the Rise" in Symphony magazine.
Frequently in demand as a guest conductor, Alondra de la Parra has led the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Phoenix, Columbus, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Miami's New World Symphony, Canada's Edmonton Symphony, Germany's Kammerakademie Potsdam, Moritzburg Festival Orchestra and Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Denmark's Tivoli Symphony, the Russian National Orchestra, Brazil's Sao Paulo Symphony, the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico, Mexico's Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, Venezuela's Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Aguascalientes, Uruguay's Montevideo Philharmonic, the Singapore Sun Festival Orchestra where she collaborated with actor Geoffrey Rush, and the Washington National Opera in a gala concert with Plácido Domingo. In addition, since 2005 she has been Music Director of the Music Festival of the Americas in Stowe, Vermont.
Alondra de la Parra makes her home in Mexico City. She holds a B.A. in piano performance and an M.M. in conducting from the Manhattan School of Music.