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Born: 1899, Mexico City, MexicoDied: 1978, Mexico City

“Great composers never learned their art in an ivory tower, but in its constant practice.”

A vastly influential teacher and writer as well as a composer and conductor, Carlos Chávez was a defining force in Mexican music and cultural life. He composed symphonies, concertos, string quartets, and piano sonatas – some angular and atonal, others neoclassical – as well as numerous pieces reflecting both pre-Columbian and modern vernacular Mexican music. His wide circle of friends in the U.S. included John Cage, Aaron Copland, and Edgard Varèse, and his students included Pablo Moncayo, Eduardo Mata, and Mario Lavista.

Further listening:Three Pieces (solo guitar, 1923)Manuel Barrueco (Vox)Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonía india) (1936)New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (Sony Classical)