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


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....


Thompson, Oscar (10 October 1887–03 July 1945), music critic, author, and lecturer, was born Oscar Lee Thompson in Crawfordsville, Indiana, one of two surviving sons of Will Henry Thompson, a merchant, and Ida Lee, an amateur musician. Educated in the private Academy of Dramatic Arts near his hometown, Thompson received a certificate in piano and voice and as a young adult intended to pursue a career as a singer. After a few marginally successful engagements on the concert platform in Indiana and Illinois in 1912, he redirected his career toward music criticism after being engaged as a part-time reviewer by a local newspaper. In 1914 he married Janviere Maybin in Tacoma, Washington; they had four children. He continued to write music, drama, and book reviews until 1917, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army....