Chávez (y Ramírez), Carlos (Antonio de Padua) (1899–1978) By Gibson, Christina Taylor
Composer and conductor Carlos Chávez was a dominant force in Mexican musical life during the middle of the twentieth century. His most influential post was as director of the Symphony Orchestra of Mexico [Orquesta Sinfónica, OSM], which he led from 1928 to 1948. While leading the OSM, Chávez successfully broadened concepts of classical music to include symphonic, contemporary works by Mexican composers. At the same time, he began an international guest-conducting career that continued into the final years of his life. Although best known for a handful of nationalist works composed in the 1920s and 1930s, Chávez’s compositions demonstrate a diversity of esthetic interests, from avant-garde abstraction to popular genres; regardless of the approach used in a given work, Chávez’s intellectualism and care are evident.