New York Celebrates Carlos Chávez! September 21 - October 14 2016

A Tribute to Modernism

Carlos Chávez was not only celebrated for his unique compositions, but also for building bridges between the musical trends of Mexico, the United States and other Latin American countries. In the 1930’s he was hailed as the musical equivalent to Diego Rivera. This three week festival will highlight the works of Chávez and his composer friends and give an in-depth explanation to the importance of his legacy.

This festival began with a concert at the DiMenna Center of Classical Music. Mexican conductor, Felipe Tristán and The Symphony Orchestra of the Americas will present “Music Without Borders”, with music by Aaron Copland, Carlos Chávez and Rolando Gori.

The following performance will be on September 27th at the Octavio Paz Gallery (Consulate General of Mexico in New York) and will be again performed under Felipe Trsitan’s baton. A third performance will be held on October 12th at The New York Public Library on 53rd St. This performance will be dedicated to Chávez’s friends. The Symphony Orchestra of the Americas will play music composed by Chávez (Energía and La hija de Cólquide), Igor Stravinsky (Ragtime), and George Gershwin (Lullaby).

Finally, on October 14th, the last concert will take place at Americas Society. This event will put Chávez in context as the Mexican-born pianist, Roberto Hidalgo explores the unique cultural dialogue between Aaron Copland and Carlos Chávez.

In addition to the concerts, The Mexican Cultural Institute made an open invitation to visit the exhibit “Carlos Chávez: The Musical Construction of Modern Mexico” from 9 to 6 at the Octavio Paz Gallery. The exhibition proposed a brief insight on the life on the composer who shaped modernist music and shone a light on the vital relationship between Mexico and the United States.

The festival encouraged assistants to rediscover the powerful, expressive nature of familiar compositions and to become acquainted with less well-known works composed by Carlos Chávez and his modernists American and international friends.

Rosa Covarruvias, Carlos Chávez, and Frida Kahlo

Carlos Chávez: the Musical Construction of Modern Mexico

Chávez was a quintessential figure of the emerging music scene in the United States throughout the 1920s. In 1926, he moved to New York and rented an apartment in Greenwich Village with Rufino Tamayo. He was introduced to Edgard Varèse, dean of the New York ultra-modernists and some years later befriended Copland, who recognized him as an ally in the war against the excesses of German Romanticism. Varèse and Copland – who greatly admired Chávez’s musical talent – introduced his work to the most important musical companies in the city.

Through his music, Chávez provoked a renewed interest in Mexico from the United States, which secured him a long lasting relationship with New York. He left his mark as a composer, teacher, conductor, and cultural shaker in Mexico, the United States, and beyond. This exhibition proposes a brief insight on the life of a composer that shaped American music, and whose legacy represents a commitment to both his roots and a globalized musical movement.

  • Production and curatorial research: Roberto Campos Ruiz
  • Museography: Leticia Pardo and Katherine Castañeda
  • Installation: Constantin Apostol
Music Without Borders

Concert with music by Aaron Copland, Carlos Chávez, and Rolando Gori.

New York Meets Carlos Chávez

Music by Carlos Chávez and Aaron Copland.

Carlos Chávez and Friends

Music by Carlos Chávez, Aaron Copland, and Igor Stravinsky.

Aaron Copland & Carlos Chavez
  • Roberto Hidalgo, piano
  • Theresa Salomon, violin
Photos courtesy of Americas Society
Exhibition "Carlos Chávez: the Musical Construction of Modern Mexico" / 2016
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