BIOGRAPHY

1928
Back in Mexico, the Musicians Union appoints him director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Mexicana (Mexican Symphony Orchestra), an organism that, subsidized by said Union, had operated without much success since the year before. The first season takes place from September 1928 to March 1929, with six ordinary concerts and an extraordinary one. Among the works played during that season and heard for the first time in Mexico are: Debussy’s Iberia, Falla’s El amor brujo, Ravel’s Second Suite of Daphnis and Chloe, Honegger’s Pacific 231, Copland’s Music for the Theatre and Carpenter’s Skyscrapers, a piece that provoked the most contrary opinions and critiques.
Created at the start like a cooperative, the Orchestra changes its name for that of Orquesta Sinfónica de México (Mexico’s Symphony Orchestra) and in 1940 it becomes a civil association, due to the official and private sponsorship promoted by Chávez himself, which guaranteed its stability. For 21 consecutive years, it becomes in fact a true national orchestra, not only because of its enormously transcendent work of dissemination, but due to the prestige acquired as such both in Mexico and abroad. At its peak, it presents concerts for more than 17 weeks in addition to the extraordinary ones for workers, students and children, and takes long tours in the states. Due to the rise of radio during that era, the concerts’ transmission puts them within reach of the entire country.
Through Mexico’s Symphony Orchestra, Chávez consolidates a large symphonic repertoire in Mexico. Statistics indicate that the orchestra had a universal repertoire of 487 works of which 244 were presented for the first time and 88 were world premieres. Of these, 93 belonged to 33 Mexican authors.
Chávez invites notable directors and composers to his concerts, although he also provides special support to Mexican soloists and composers through commissions and concerts. Likewise, as orchestra director he organizes conferences, orders and edits critique works and records his music.
He invites Silvestre Revueltas, Candelario Huízar, Moncayo and Galindo to become members of the orchestra as assistant director (1929-1935), horn player and librarian (1928-1948), pianist, percussionist, assistant director and artistic director (1932-1947), percussionist and assistant director (1936-1945), respectively.
At the same time he is appointed Director of the National Conservatory where his progressive spirit and energy are felt immediately. With the support of a group of young and enthusiastic professors, he reforms the study plans, updating them and bestowing broader perspectives to musical teaching. He creates the Research Academies with the purpose of building musical research and its specific application in the rescue of Mexican, folkloric and cultured music. He fosters the creation of chamber ensembles, the Conservatory Chorus and the Mexican Orchestra, integrated by native instruments or their equivalent; he organizes auditions and places in charge of them the advantaged teachers and students who for the first time earn a small fee for their participation.
Personally, he is especially devoted to the Professorship of Musical Creation to which Blas Galindo, José Pablo Moncayo, Salvador Contreras and even Silvestre Revueltas attend. Music had to be taught not as theory, but in practice,” he remarked,” I am a Renaissance man and believe more in the workshop than in the school.


1932
Visits the RCA studios and Bell Telephone laboratories in the United States. In his book, Toward a New Music, published in 1937, he writes what he observed during his trip regarding the artistic possibilities of sound reproduction by electronic means.
France names him Knight of the Legion of Honor in recognition of his work in the dissemination of French music.
Stokowsky directs HP in Philadelphia with costumes and sets by Diego Rivera and choreography by Catherine Littlefield.


1933
He is named Head of the Fine Arts Department, but steps down in May 1934.


1935
After several previous and isolated performances with some U.S. orchestras, he goes on his first tour as guest director.
Composes the Sinfonía India.