Juan Pablo Contreras (b. 1987 in Guadalajara, Mexico) is “one of the most prominent young composers of Latin America” (Milenio). His music is known for combining Western classical and Mexican folk music in a single soundscape, and has been performed by major orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, the Mexico City and UNAM Philharmonics, and the orchestras of Boca del Río, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, State of Mexico, and Jalisco in Mexico; the Salta and Córdoba Symphonies in Argentina; the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela; and the Victoria Bach Festival Orchestra and the Waco Symphony Orchestra in the United States.
Contreras has received commissions from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, The Riverside Choir, Carlos Prieto, and the Onix Ensamble. He has won awards including the BMI William Schuman Prize, the Presser Music Award, the Jalisco Orchestral Composition Prize, the Brian Israel Prize, the Arturo Márquez Composition Contest, the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, the Dutch Harp Composition Contest, the Nicolas Flagello Award, and the Young Artist Fellowship of Mexico’s National Fund for Culture and the Arts. Contreras has also served as Composer-in-Residence at the soundON Festival of Modern Music in San Diego, the Cactus Pear Music Festival in San Antonio, and at the Turtle Bay Music School and the Concerts on the Slope in New York.
He is a Teaching Assistant at the University of Southern California and has been a guest lecturer at Baylor University, the California State University of Fresno, and the Portland State University in the United Sates; and the University of Guadalajara and the ITESO in Mexico.
Contreras holds degrees in composition from the California Institute of the Arts (BFA), the Manhattan School of Music (MM), and is currently pursuing his DMA degree at the University of Southern California. His most influential teachers include Richard Danielpour, Daniel Catán, Nils Vigeland, and Donald Crockett. Contreras’ music has been recorded on Albany Records, Epsa Music, and Urtext Digital Classics.