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El Mundo Boston 2018.

J. ANDRÉS BALLESTEROS

Artistic Advisor, Eureka Ensemble
Teacher, Boston Arts Academy

Age: 28

Heritage: Mexican

 

Andrés Ballesteros grew up in Central Mexico before moving to North Carolina with his family at a young age. He is a classical composer, educator, speaker, and arts advocate. He moved to Boston to complete his collegiate studies at Harvard University in music and government. Since arriving to the U.S ten years ago, he has worked to significantly impact the local and national arts community in expanding representation for people of color and women, as well as to connect music-making with social justice.

 

Now in his sixth year teaching at Boston Arts Academy (BAA), Andrés has worked to develop student-centered curricula that inspire the school's diverse youth to be inclusive and expansive in their arts and work. His students and his teaching in turn inspired him to launch the BSO project.

 

In 2017, Andrés launched a movement involving local musicians and art leaders that successfully inspired the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) to perform more inclusive programming. This initiative led him to the League of American Orchestras National Conference in 2018 and 2019 to speak to orchestras across the country about the power of representing local communities through innovative and diverse repertoire.

 

Andrés is the artistic adviser for Eureka Ensemble, a widely-praised chamber orchestra that nurtures social change through music. With the Eureka team, he designed an educational program called "Voz de Chelsea" for unaccompanied girls from Central America, in partnership with the Chelsea Collaborative. This program amplified the girls' voices and culminated in the creation and performance of a new piece, Voces, which was created using their musical ideas and experiences.

 

When Andrés and his family moved to North Carolina, its thriving Latino community provided a home away from home. Through it, he experienced firsthand the incredible power of communities to help those in need and to support each other. Music is the way he's chosen to communicate, and a wide range of Latin American music is in his DNA; but music is also his community, and one that he hopes can be as warm and inviting as the one he grew up in.

 

Currently, he is working with playwright Ginger Lazarus on a new play about the experience of immigrants in Greater Boston, in addition to developing a Spanish-language performance of Handel's Messiahwith Eureka and writing a new piece for the BAA orchestra. He also hopes to continue refining his cochinita pibil recipe until it tastes the way it should.