JOSE ANTONIO OZUNA
Guitarron/ Director/ Founder
Jose “Tony” Ozuna is a third-generation mariachi musician from Tucson, Arizona. With over 25 years of mariachi music experience, since 2010 Tony has worked to bring the first curriculum-based mariachi program to the Gage Park community in Chicago. In 2014, Tony won Teacher of the Year in recognition for his excellence in teaching mariachi and his commitment to his community and students.
As the founder and director of Chicago’s “Very Own,” Mariachi Monumental de Mexico, Tony has led Chicago’s premier mariachi ensemble to many elite music festivals and cultural celebrations across the Midwest. Under Tony’s direction, Mariachi Monumental has become the official mariachi of Chicago’s top sports teams, and has performed alongside Grammy Award winning artists.
As an educator and musician, Tony instills in young musicians an appreciation for Mexican music, creating a bridge between their cultural heritage and mariachi music. In his early 30s, Tony has an energetic dedication to the future of mariachi education. Inspired by his students and his community, Tony continues to promote and create opportunities for Chicago’s youth to preserve and continue the tradition of mariachi music.
JOSE HERIBERTO MARTINEZ
Heri is considered one of the most influential contemporary vihuela players in Chicago and the Midwest. As composer, arranger, performer, and music producer, Heri continuously contributes to mariachi music and music education. Born in Mexico City, to a family of musicians and mariachi performers, at a very young age Heri became a mariachi apprentice. Currently, Heri is co-founder of Chicago’s Very Own: Mariachi Monumental De Mexico and a mariachi instructor in various local mariachi community groups.