Volunteer Q&A: Juan Solana

Juan Solana and his wife, Rosalind Jackson

A native of Spain, Juan Solana is global director, measurement, advanced analytics & performance-driven marketing at General Motors. Before that, he was a senior consultant, digital marketing effectiveness, for the Nielsen Corp. Before joining Nielsen in 2013, he worked at Hispanic Business Inc. as director of new media and market research. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from Spain's Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a doctorate in economics from Purdue University.

What drew you to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra?

Circa 1984, listening Sir Georg Solti’s Wagner overtures with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I would listen to the idyllic Der fliegende Holländer over and over again. It was part of an iconic classical music collaboration between Solti-CSO-Decca that resulted in a 108-CD production. At the risk of being somewhat irreverent here, that was a year of listening back and forth between Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” and Solti’s CSO-Wagner.

Why did you decide to join the Latino Alliance?

I joined CSO’s Latino Alliance in its founding year, at the invitation from [then co-chairs] Loida [Rosario] and Ramiro [Atristaín-Carrión]. I did not hesitate to embrace the opportunity to give back to classical music as much as the music has given to me. Volunteering gives you the chance to experience this wonderful art form that can become part of your life, cheer you, go with you in moments of sadness and celebrate joyful events to come.

Do you have a favorite concert or other memory of the CSO?

Just one? Maestro Muti’s masterful conducting the climatic end of Cavalleria rusticana. Who would have thought that this 2/8/2020 instant, of which the last few bars were captured on video, would stick with me for such a long time? Again, I listen/watch to that one-minute clip on cso.org over and over. The minute makes me reflect on the fragility of life and how much we must enjoy each moment of it, just like that performance.

Also memorable was seeing maestro Jesús López-Cobos conducting the CSO, remembering 35 years later, my first live concerts with him conducting the Spanish National Orchestra in Madrid. Lastly, the sharp and emotional encore by guest guitarist Pablo Saenz-Villegas, Tarrega’s Gran Jota, after his Concierto de Aranjuez with the CSO.

What are you most looking forward to when the CSO returns to live concerts?

The opportunity to celebrate human endeavors, remember those we have lost and connect with friends around arts and savor second-to-none musicianship of the CSO. Nothing can equal the sound and the experience of listening to classical music live. Experiencing the energy of the orchestra in its crescendos, the surround-sound in its fortes, the precision and synchronicity, performed all live.

Why do you believe it’s important for volunteers, donors and patrons to support the CSO?

Now more than ever, the music and all formats of the CSO experience are no longer bound to Chicago; many opportunities have opened up to share the CSO in its many formats globally. That is what the CSO always has been: a global classical music brand. With the many video and communications opportunities, how many new generation members can we reach? How many global relationships with the CSO can be started, like mine was in 1984, with all the means we now have?