Victor Mendoza

Retired Professor
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Vibraphonist and composer Victor Mendoza, a Mexico native, is a leading international artist in the Latin jazz and world percussion spheres. In addition to leading his own groups and performing as a solist, Mendoza has performed with a long list of music greats, including Paquito D'Rivera, Danilo Pérez, Claudio Roditi, Antonio Sanchez and Lee Konitz, among others. He has performed and taught around the world and earned recognitions and awards from multiple organizations, including Latin Beat, Modern Drummer, Jazziz, and the Smithsonian. Jazziz magazine described Mendoza as "the genre's leading vibraphone practitioner" and "one of today's most resourceful composers."

Career Highlights
  • Performances and/or recordings with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Paquito D'Rivera, Bob Moses, Terence Trent D'Arby, Slide Hampton, Claudio Roditi, Giovanni Hidalgo, and George Garzone
  • Releases as a leader include If Only You Knew and This Is Why
  • Guest appearances with the World Festival Orchestra under the direction of Paquito D’Rivera, the Milan Svoboda Orchestra in Prague, and as soloist with the Carlos Chávez Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City
  • Solo appearances with the 85-piece Banda del Puerto in Valencia, Spain, under the direction of award-winning conductor Isidro Coll Ballesteros, as well as the Granada Symphony in Spain
  • Numerous broadcast appearances including Victor Mendoza in Concert and All American Jazz on PBS television, and Kaleidoscope on BBC radio
  • Named one of the Outstanding Latin Jazz Artists of the Year by Latin Beat magazine
  • "Black Bean Blues" named one of the best Latin jazz recordings of the year by Modern Drummer magazine
  • B.M., Northern Arizona University
In Their Own Words

"There is a misconception that you take one course in Latin music, therefore you know it all. That'd be like saying you studied one Bach prelude, therefore you understand Baroque music. When it comes to Latin music and Latin jazz, it goes very deep."

"I'm a strong believer in tradition, but at the same time the idea is that the tradition evolves into something. It develops. You study bebop not to play like Charlie Parker, but to incorporate it into your music. You learn Tito Puente solos to incorporate it into your playing, into something a little more uniquely you."

"A friend of my father's—he's a very famous painter in Mexico—used to say there are three stages: One is that you learn what the master teaches you. Then you master what the maestro taught you. Then you do whatever you want with it."