The Music of Manuel M. Ponce, Julián Carrillo, and Carlos Chávez in New York, 1925-1932

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From 1925 to 1932, music by Manuel M. Ponce, Julián Carrillo, and Carlos Chávez was performed in New York and widely reviewed in the city's newspapers. Although they are among the most significant figures in Mexican musical history, the influence of these composers and their works in New York from 1925-1932 has not been sufficiently studied. During these years, New York was not only the cultural capital of the U.S. but it was also a center for modernism and expatriate Mexican culture. In addition, the years in question mark the period directly preceding the premiere of Chávez's ballet, H.P., with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, a performance that transformed Chávez's career and made him one of the most well-known Latin American composers in the U.S.

This dissertation seeks to provide a multi-faceted examination of these composers and performances of their works in New York during the critical years before Chávez's ascendancy and to demonstrate the diverse Mexican musical aesthetics represented there during a relatively short period of time. Specifically this dissertation focuses on performances of Ponce's canciones and guitar compositions, Carrillo's avant-garde microtonal music, and Chávez's modernist chamber works; all of which were presented in New York between 1925 and 1932. It also provides information about Mexican music in New York directly before and after the central period in question, examining in some detail New York performances of Carrillo's First Symphony in 1915, Ponce's performance of his own piano music in 1916, and the aforementioned Philadelphia premiere of Chávez's H.P. in 1932.