John A. Lopez is an Associate Professor of Music at Texas State University-San Marcos and serves as the Coordinator of Latin Music Studies. Starting with the creation of Salsa del Rio in 1995, the Latin Music Studies area has grown to include Mariachi Nueva Generacion, Orquesta del Rio (Salsa Band II), and the youth mariachi program. The total number of students involved in these programs has grown to over 100. He also provides yearly salsa and mariachi opportunities for middle and high school students through the week long Latin music summer camp held at Texas State University.
As a performer, Mr. Lopez is very active in the Salsa music community playing Latin percussion with some of the best groups in the Central Texas area. Some of the bands he has played with include La Predilecta, Naningo, Tony Guerrero, Orquesta Tradicion, El Tumbao, Mochate, and Son Playado. He also serves as Music Director for The Mambo Kings of San Antonio.
Under his direction, the Salsa and Mariachi ensembles have gained much recognition throughout the state, as well as nationally and internationally through several performance opportunities. Salsa del Rio has performed internationally at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, Brienz Jazz Festival, Carnaval de Nice, Cancun and Mexico City, Mexico. Nationally, they have performed at the prestigious Notre Dame Jazz Festival where they have won several awards. Mariachi Nueva Generacion has quickly risen as one of the best university Mariachi ensembles in the state of Texas. Mariachi Nueva Generacion competes regularly at the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza held annually in December in San Antonio, TX, where they have won first place several times. Internationally, Mariachi Nueva Generacion has toured Europe alongside the Texas State University Symphony Orchestra. For more information on the Latin music ensembles, please visit www.txstate.edu/musica.