Jorge Mester



Competition Winner

Born: April 10, 1935 (Mexico City)

Conductor Jorge Mester was born of Hungarian parents in Mexico City. He studied with Jean Morel at the Juilliard School. He worked with Leonard Bernstein at the Berkshire Music Center. In 1955, he made his debut with the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, and in 1960, made his opera debut conducting Salome at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Mester also studied viola and was a member of the Beaux Arts Quartet.

In 1967, he became the director of the Louisville Orchestra and by 1979, the year he left the orchestra, he had given more than 200 world premieres of works commissioned by the orchestra.

In 1968, Mester won the Naumburg Award for Conducting.

From 1970 to 1990, he was music director of the Aspen Music Festival and founder of the Aspen Chamber Symphony. He became director of the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra in 1984, and in 1998, he became music director of the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2004 to 2012, he led the Naples Philharmonic (FL) and in 2006, returned to Louisville for a second tenure as music director of the Louisville Orchestra, on an "open-ended" contract of unfixed duration, until the orchestra found a new music director, with Mester as a member of the search committee.

Mester served as director of Juilliard's conducting department and led concerts and operas in the USC Thornton School of Music. In 1987, Mester paticipated in a documentary A Woman Is A Risky Bet: Six Orchestra Conductors, where he comments on the conservative attitudes towards women in the world of classical music. Mester has a long-standing affiliation with Peter Schickele and the P.D.Q. Bach concerts, dating back to 1965, when he conducted the first public P.D.Q. Bach concert.

Since 2014, he has served as the artistic director for Orquesta Filarmonica de Boca del Rio, Veracruz. He resides in Southern California.

Below: Recording of Jorge Mester conducting the Louisville Orchestra, 2003


1968 Conducting Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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