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Carlos Chávez Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1937. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103962).

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Chávez, Carlos (13 June 1899–02 August 1978), influential Mexican composer/conductor, author, and educator, of Spanish and some Indian descent, was born Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez in Mexico City, the seventh son of Augustin Chávez, an inventor, and Juvencia Ramírez, a teacher. His mother supported the children after her husband’s death in 1902. Chávez began his musical studies at an early age and studied piano, first with his elder brother Manuel, then with Asunción Parra, and later with composer and pianist Manuel M. Ponce (1910–1914) and pianist and teacher Pedro Luis Ogazón (1915–1920). Chávez credited Ogazón with introducing him to the best classical and Romantic music and with developing his musical taste and technical formation. He received little formal training in composition, concentrating instead on the piano, analysis of musical scores, and orchestration. Chávez’s maternal grandfather was Indian, and from the time Chávez was five or six his family frequently vacationed in the ancient city-state of Tlaxcala, the home of a tribe that opposed the Aztecs. He later visited such diverse Indian centers as Puebla, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Michoacan in pursuit of Indian culture, which proved a significant influence on his early works....

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Pepper, Stephen C. (29 April 1891–01 May 1972), philosopher and aesthetician, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Charles Hovey Pepper, an artist, and Frances Coburn. The family lived in Paris for six years, until 1899, when they moved to Concord, Massachusetts. In 1903, shortly before his twelfth birthday, Pepper traveled with his family to Japan. On visits to art galleries his father would ask him which pictures he liked best. Then they would compare notes. As Pepper noted later, it “was a wonderful education” for a future aesthetician, and “these trips through galleries were as if we were two boys on a fishing trip.”...

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Perkins, Charles Callahan (01 March 1823–25 August 1886), art critic, philanthropist, and administrator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of James Perkins, a wealthy and generous merchant, and Eliza Greene Callahan. After early schooling in Boston and attendance at boarding schools in nearby Cambridge and in Burlington, New Jersey, Perkins entered Harvard. He disliked the curriculum there but graduated in 1843....

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Saarinen, Aline Bernstein (25 March 1914–13 July 1972), art critic and historian, was born in New York City, the daughter of Allen Bernstein, an investment counselor, and Irma Lewyn. Both parents were amateur painters. Aline graduated from Vassar College as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1935. That same year she married Joseph H. Louchheim, a public welfare administrator; they had two children. Aline Louchheim received a master’s degree in architectural history from New York University in 1939. During World War II she worked in governmental service....

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Sargent, Irene Jesse (20 February 1852–14 September 1932), teacher and art critic, was born in Auburn, New York, the youngest daughter of Rufus Sargent, a manufacturer, and Phebe (maiden name unknown). Privately educated as a child, Sargent moved from Auburn to Boston with her parents when she was in her early twenties and thereafter claimed that city as her birthplace. Though no record of her formal education survives, she apparently studied music at the Boston Conservatory. She later studied the history of art and architecture at the University of Paris and in Rome as well as with ...