Latina of Influence | Leonor Xochitl Perez, Ph.D.

Founder and Director of Mariachi Women, Dr. Leonor Xochitl Perez is one of Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2014 Latinas of Influence.  Follow all of our 2014 Latinas of Influence on twitter with the tag #HLTVLC14

Mariachi Women‘s  Founder and Director, Dr. Leonor Xochitl Perez, began performing mariachi music in the 1970’s at Griffith Junior High School which is located in East Los Angeles.  This was the first youth mariachi group in California and among the first in the United States.  Dr. Perez went on to perform with mixed-gender groups in Los Angeles and in Washington DC.  Performance highlights include playing at two Presidential Inaugural Balls (one at 19 years old) and at two MARIACHI USA Festivals at the Hollywood Bowl.  Mariachi Mujer 2000 was the last high-profile performance group that Dr. Perez performed with prior to starting her family and focusing on her career in education.  Dr. Perez obtained a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and PhD in Education from UCLA.  She also obtained a master’s degree from Harvard in human development and psychology.  She was a Dean at East Los Angeles College for 8 years and, for 2 years, an Administrator at the Harvard Medical School.

Our entire list of Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2014 Latinas of Influence are invited to participate in our Latina Conference scheduled for April 2, 2014.

In 2012, Dr. Perez returned to the arts when she moved to San Diego to become Artistic Projects Manager for the San Diego Symphony, bringing diverse communities together to co-create an original musical masterpiece with renowned film and television composer Bill Conti. In March 2014, she presented  the exhibit, “íViva el Mariachi Femenil!” at the San Gabriel Fine Arts Association which she curated based on her 15 years of research on mariachi women performers.  The exhibit showcases women from 1903-2014 who have made major contributions to the advancement of mariachi music as promoters of Mexican national identity in Mexico, ethnic identity and community in the United States, and as global preservers of mariachi culture. It unveils a cohesive but untold story of passion, respect and influence on this important Mexican cultural form.  She is writing a book based on the exhibit.  Information about the book, upcoming exhibit locations and concerts may be found on her website MariachiWomen.Org.

Author: Richard Sandoval

Richard Sandoval is an award winning journalist who produces Hispanic Lifestyle a television program broadcasting on several PBS stations throughout the United States. editorial@Hispaniclifestyle.com

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