José Antonio Méndez Padrón

José Antonio Méndez Padrón

José Méndez

José Antonio Méndez Padrón, known to his friends as Pepe, is a Cuban conductor who is the director and founder of the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de las Artes.


    "José Antonio Méndez Padrón (Pepe) in my opinion is a true Cuban hero. He was born and studied in Cuba and has dedicated his life to the promotion of classical music in his country. He has never lost faith that classical music has a place in Cuba - he says that the famous Cuban popular music which we all know like Salsa, Son, Mambo, Bolero etc. has its roots in classical music and in 19th century Cuba, there was a great tradition of classical music. Through Pepe I discovered that people like Stravinsky, Karajan and Kleiber had conducted the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra. Imagine! When he is not conducting, Pepe is known for his bread-making skills and also as my favourite salsa dancing partner in Havana!"

    - Sarah Willis