Lavista, Mario (1943–) By Alonso-Minutti, Ana R.
Composer, pianist, intellectual, editor, and teacher Mario Lavista is regarded as a central figure in Mexico’s contemporary music scene. A prolific composer of orchestral, stage, chamber, solo, and electronic pieces, Lavista’s oeuvre is characterized by its intersections with the other arts. His music shows an integration of modernist avant-garde trends from both European and American music, while also adopting compositional techniques from diverse historical periods of Western art traditions. He has maintained an active performance career, especially through collective improvisations using prepared piano.
Lavista’s role as intellectual has been shaped mainly through the series of lecture-recitals he regularly organizes as a member of El Colegio Nacional—a prestigious government-funded institution intended to foster the cultural and intellectual activities of an intellectual elite. Moreover, he is the founder and director of one of the most renowned music journals in Mexico, Pauta: Cuadernos de Teoría y Crítica Musical, which promotes multidisciplinary dialogues, especially among writers, painters and musicians, and has a strong emphasis on contemporary music. Lavista has been teaching at the Conservatorio Nacional since 1970, where his role as educator and mentor has been particularly relevant for ‘‘practically all Mexican composers that are younger than he is’’ (Cortez 14).