about our director

The Mariachi Studio's success is founded on the vast experience gathered by director Juan Morales during the course of three decades of teaching and performing mariachi music. Having started his guitar studies in Mexico at an early age, Morales had two national prizes in classical guitar under his belt by the time he turned eighteen. He was offered his first music teaching position by his own high school, upon graduating.

Morales (far left) and his first youth ensemble, Mariachi Edimus, from Hermosillo, Sonora, circa 1987

Morales (far left) and his first youth ensemble, Mariachi Edimus, from Hermosillo, Sonora, circa 1987


After majoring in classical guitar at Arizona State University, director Juan Morales performed and recorded in Los Angeles for over a decade with the top-tier ensembles in the mariachi music industry. As assistant director, he was in charge of arranging for and directing recordings, as well as designing curriculum for teaching master classes at the most prestigious mariachi conferences around the country. Such curriculum is still at the core of The Mariachi Studio's educational offerings.

Mr. Juan Morales on the harp, with Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, circa 1993

Mr. Juan Morales on the harp, with Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, circa 1993


Following his passion for teaching, Mr. Morales left the professional stage to continue pursuing a career in music pedagogy, ultimately attaining the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. This program featured an emphasis on the philosophy of El Sistema, the movement of social change through music that fuels the mission of The Mariachi Studio. 

At his MAT graduation ceremony, Mr. Morales performed mariachi music with his daughters at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

At his MAT graduation ceremony, Mr. Morales performed mariachi music with his daughters at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.