Growing up in East Los Angeles, Jessica Bejarano didn’t have a lot of accessibility to the arts. She was a member of her high school marching band, but the opportunity to experience a classical music concert, the opera or ballet felt like a world away.
She did have one thing going for her, however; She loved music.
“It was this instant love for…playing music and making music,” Bejarano said. “One of my biggest goals is to really make music accessible.”
Today, Bejarano, who is Mexican American, is the founder and music director of the San Francisco Philharmonic. During her career, she has served as a guest conductor for symphonies across the world, including countries like Russia, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain and Venezuela.
As the daughter of immigrants, Bejarano knows she has paved a career path that few Latinas have been given the chance to do in the 250 years of conducting history.
“Inclusivity and exposure are extremely important,” she said. “I am an example. You, too, can be a conductor or a musician or just an audience member in the concert hall. You can belong anywhere in this room.”
In partnership with Heineken USA and its Tecate brand, Bejarano is bringing her talent as a conductor to Tecate ALTA Presents: ALTA SINFÓNICA, a project that blends classic and contemporary sounds. By bringing symphonic music together with hip-hop, regional Mexican, and dancehall beats, Bejarano and ALTA SINFÓNICA will blur the musical genre boundaries and embrace cultural complexities.
“People shouldn’t be boxed,” Bejarano said. “I feel the same way about music. Music shouldn’t be boxed either [like] symphony music belongs in the symphony hall and hip-hop and rap belong somewhere else. Let’s take the boxes out of the equation and create something different, something special, something unique.”
To do this, Bejarano is teaming up with three of the hottest Latine artists working in the industry today – Snow Tha Product, Oscar Cortéz and Los Rakas – and will take their music and reimagine it with a symphonic spin. The collaboration will converge into ALTA SINFÓNICA, a one-night-only performance at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco on Saturday, October 1, 2022.
There, Bejarano and the San Francisco Philharmonic, Snow Tha Product, Los Rakas and Cortéz will “demonstrate the beauty of cross-cultural convergence…to create a whole new musical expression,” said Óscar Martínez-López, Senior Brand Director at Tecate. “As with any other cultural expression, we believe music has no borders.”
Bejarano adds: “I am extremely excited and honored to be a part of the ALTA SINFÓNICA project. The mixture and the coming together of these different art forms and these different artists is going to be absolutely unique and a true elevation of what music and community can really be and should be.”
Tickets for Tecate ALTA Presents: ALTA SINFÓNICA are currently available for purchase. All profits from the concert will be donated to the San Francisco Philharmonic.
“I think this vision, this visibility that we’re going to have on that stage for the audience is…going to help propel change,” Bejarano said. “I’m hopeful for what’s going to happen not [only] musically but breaking down these barriers that still exist.”