Carlos Chávez (1899–1978) is the central figure in Mexican music of the twentieth century and among the most eminent of all Latin American modernist composers. An enfant terrible in his own country, Chávez was an integral part of the emerging music scene in the United States in the 1920s. His highly individual style—diatonic, dissonant, contrapuntal—addressed both modernity and Mexico’s indigenous past. Chávez was also a governmental arts administrator, founder of major Mexican cultural institutions, and conductor and founder of the Orquesta Sinfónica de México. Carlos Chávez and His World brings together an international roster of leading scholars to delve into not only Chávez’s music but also the history, art, and politics surrounding his life and work.
Contributors explore Chávez’s vast body of compositions, including his piano music, symphonies, violin concerto, late compositions, and Indianist music. They look at his connections with such artistic greats as Aaron Copland, Miguel Covarrubias, Henry Cowell, Silvestre Revueltas, and Paul Strand. The essays examine New York’s modernist scene, Mexican symphonic music, portraits of Chávez by major Mexican artists of the period, including Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo, and Chávez’s impact on El Colegio Nacional. A quantum leap in understanding Carlos Chávez and his milieu, this collection will stimulate further work in Latin American music and culture.
The contributors are Ana R. Alonso-Minutti, Amy Bauer, Leon Botstein, David Brodbeck, Helen Delpar, Christina Taylor Gibson, Susana González Aktories, Anna Indych-López, Roberto Kolb-Neuhaus, James Krippner, Rebecca Levi, Ricardo Miranda, Julián Orbón, Howard Pollack, Leonora Saavedra, Antonio Saborit, Stephanie Stallings, and Luisa Vilar Payá.
“An insightful volume.”—William Robin, The New York Times