The nationally award winning Mariachi Aztlán was founded by Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Assistant Vice-President of Public Art at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and is co-directed by Mr. Francisco Loera, who is on the faculty of the School of Music at UTRGV. The Mariachi has traveled throughout Mexico, Canada and the United States as musical ambassadors, representing the beauty of the Hispanic music and cultural traditions.
Mariachi Aztlán has been selected numerous times as the “Outstanding College or University Mariachi” in nationwide competition throughout the past twenty years. Highlight performances include an invitation from the White House to perform at a signing ceremony of an Executive Order commemorating the renewal and enhancement of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, performing for President Barack Obama. In collaboration with the Houston Grand Opera, Mariachi Aztlán premiered the stage production of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world’s first “Mariachi-Opera” in 2010. Other concerts include appearances at the Hollywood Bowl, the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and a premiere performance of the mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna in 2013 with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Most recently, the Mariachi Aztlán premiered the newest mariachi opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina with the Chicago Lyric Opera in 2015, and performed as guest artists at the Tucson International Mariachi Conference in 2015, the 2015 and 2016 San Diego International Mariachi Festivals, and the Chicago Mariachi Festivals in 2015 and 2016. They are frequently invited as guest clinicians to teach at the major mariachi conferences throughout the US. This past year, Mariachi Aztlán proudly released a new CD, Mi Nombre es México to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the UTPA/UTRGV Mariachi Program.