Ana Lisa Portillo
Born and raised on the Texas-Mexico border, Ana Lisa Portillo is an award-winning world music performer with classical violin training via the Columbia-Juilliard exchange program. She has performed with the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, Ciudad Juárez Symphony (Mexico), Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, Ceiba (Latin American folk), Guaraché (salsa), Ben Bogart y Los Gatos Azules (tango), and La Tuza (Mexican roots). She’s been performing mariachi music since 1990.
Her Mexican roots trio was nominated for Boston’s Best World Music in 2010, and another band she co-founded, Mariachi Palenque, was named Boston’s Best Mariachi in 2011. Upon moving back to her hometown, she co-founded Mariachi Estrella, winner of the 2014 El Paso Times Best of the Border award. In 2015, her essay on her experiences as a professional mariachi was published in the program for the Festival of Texas Fiddling. In 2020, Ana Lisa represented West Texas as a performer in the event, and she was also invited to become a member of the festival advisory board.
Besides maintaining an active performance schedule, Ana Lisa has been teaching strings for nineteen years. Her middle school orchestras consistently earned the two highest ratings at Texas UIL Concert and Sight-reading Competition. Additionally, she independently developed and implemented a middle school Music Technology course. She currently teaches 150 elementary orchestra students and co-teaches a middle school mariachi class in El Paso.
Ana Lisa holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, a Two-Year Certificate from the Berklee College of Music, Texas Music Certification, and Suzuki Violin Teacher Certification.