Carlos Chávez

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Carlos Chávez (13 Jun 1899, Calzada de Tacube, near Mexico City - 2 Aug 1978, Mexico City) was a Mexican composer, conductor, music theorist, educator, journalist, and founder and director of the Mexican Symphonic Orchestra.

As a child he studied piano with Pedro Luis Ogazon, and harmony with Juan B. Fuentes and Manuel Ponce. He was already composing elaborate works in his teens. In 1922-23 he traveled in France, Austria, and Germany, and became acquainted with modern musical developments. He returned briefly to Mexico where he introduced works of contemporary composers, among them Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Varese. From 1926-28 he lived in New York City, returning in 1928 to create the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mexico. (In 1949 it was renamed Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional.) From 1928-35 Chávez was the director of the Conservatorio Nacional de Música, and was general director of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes from 1946 to 1952.

Chávez published his Toward a New Music (New York: Norton, 1937) [1] [2]. His second book, Musical Thought (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961) was an outgrowth of his Charles Eliot Norton lectures, given at Harvard University in 1958-59.