The Kennedy Center

Mariachi Aztlán


Since 1989, the UTPA Mariachi Aztlán has been one of the best known musical groups both on and off campus.  The UTPA Mariachi program was founded by Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at UTPA, and is directed by Mr. Francisco Loera, who is on the faculty at the Department of Modern Languages and Literature and the Department of Music and Dance at UTPA.
The UTPA Mariachi Aztlán was founded to promote Mexican folk music and the culture of the Hispanic people for the benefit of the community of South Texas. The Mariachi has traveled throughout Mexico and  America as musical ambassadors. The Mariachi represents the beauty of the Hispanic music and cultural traditions and creates a bridge of cultural understanding between two countries and two peoples. Its growing reputation for performance excellence initiated the recent invitation from the White House to perform for President Obama at a signing ceremony of an Executive Order renewing and enhancing the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.  At a recent performance with the Houston Grand Opera, the UTPA Mariachi Aztlan premiered the stage production of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world’s first “Mariachi-Opera”.

The UTPA Mariachi Aztlán has also appeared at the Tucson International Mariachi Conferences, at the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan Extravaganzas in San Antonio and Houston, Texas, and has performed in Washington, D.C. and at the Texas State Capital in Austin, Texas. The UTPA Mariachi Aztlán has performed with two symphony orchestras in Mexico, and has also performed several times with the Valley Symphony Orchestra in the Rio Grande Valley.
For over fifteen years, in San Antonio, Texas,  and in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the UTPA Mariachi Aztlán has been selected as the “Outstanding College or University Mariachi” in nationwide competition.  This past summer, the UTPA Mariachi Aztlán won at the university level and at the professional level, winning “Grand Champions” of the Mariachi Spectacular Competition in 2010 and 2011. The UTPA Mariachi Aztlán has won first place in the “Best in Texas” Mariachi Invitational at the Houston Rodeo in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012, performing for over 73,000 people on each occasion.
The UTPA Mariachi Aztlán has been recognized by the Texas House of Representatives (1999) and the Texas Senate (2003) for promoting the music and traditions of the Hispanic culture.

Recent performances include an appearance with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, a performance at the Hollywood Bowl, a performance at the San Jose Mariachi Mexican Heritage Festival in San Jose, California, and a tour of Christmas shows in New Mexico.

Watch Past Performances

Video 6/29/2012: Mariachi Aztlán

The University of Texas-Pan American’s award-winning group performs a concert focusing on the beauty and exuberance of Mexican folk music as part of the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Mariachi Aztlán