Javier Álvarez Fuentes was awarded the National Prize for Sciences and Arts in 2013 and the Medal of Fine Arts in 2015.Photo courtesy Instrumenta Oaxaca
The composer and academic Javier Álvarez Fuentes, one of the most important Mexican musicians in the national and foreign spheres, died at the age of 67, the Secretary of Culture and the Arts of the state government of Yucatán reported yesterday on its social networks.
Born in Mexico City, Álvarez trained several generations of creators and contributed to the artistic life of the country and abroad. For the composer, making music meant
remove, put, adjust, rethink, rethink. It is not that the work comes out warm from the desk and is ready. In the history of music there is no score that is perfect the first time.
The clarinetist, who had lived in Mérida for more than a decade, stated that
In music, whatever you do as a creator must be interesting and have something significant for the performers, be it a conductor, a soloist or any section musician. Otherwise, one has lost the fight, beforehand the work will not work. That is very clear to me as an author (The Conference9/3/13).
He was awarded the National Arts and Sciences Award in 2013 and the Fine Arts Medal in 2015. His works combine a variety of international musical styles and traditions using unusual instruments and new musical technologies.
Its extensive catalogue, which includes music for concert, film and electroacoustics, is performed by the most distinguished soloists, groups and orchestras in the world.
In a chat with The Conference (4/22/15), the founding director of the Yucatan Superior School of Arts, now a university, commented that he was not interested in fame and only hopes that his works
survive the rigors of time and serve so that others can enjoy them.
In 2014, on the occasion of the presentation of the four-disc album Progressionby Javier Álvarez, Mario Lavista (1943-2021) argued that
his continuous and brilliant musical activity confirms him as one of the most eminent composers of today. All genres have been traversed by him and in each of them his technical skills and solidity are revealed, as well as a personal voice that speaks, that says, that explores a wide range of emotions and moods.
Throughout his career, Álvarez forged a long academic career and taught courses at the National Center for the Arts and the National School of Music at UNAM, was a professor at the Royal College of Music and at the Guildhall School of Music. and Drama in London and founded the bachelor’s degree in musical arts at the Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán.
On several occasions the composer commented that
if there were more music and more musicians we would probably be a better society, I think I’m not wrong. The practice of an artistic activity makes better citizens.
Javier Álvarez began his instruction at the National Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Mario Lavista. In 1981 he obtained an MA in theory and composition from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and subsequently entered the City University of London for a PhD under the co-sponsorship of the Felix Mendelssohn Foundation, the Ralph Vaughn Williams Foundation and the London School of Economics. .
He was awarded in 1987 by the International Federation of Electroacoustic Music in France (for his work Papalotl); the British Broadcasting Corporation in England, and the then National Council for Culture and the Arts in Mexico.
In 1993 he was nominated for the Ariel Award in the categories of best background music and best musical theme for his participation in the film The invention of Chronos, directed by Guillermo del Toro. In 2000 the Austrian embassy awarded him the Mozart Medal, Chapter of Excellence. In 2012 he was nominated for the Grammy Awards.