>Esteemed Mexican composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, vocal, and piano works that have been performed throughout the world; he is also active as a writer.
Prof. Lavista is the nephew of the composer Raoul Lavista (b. 1912 - d. 1980). He studied piano with Adelina Benitez and Francisco Gyves in Mexico City as a child. He studied analysis with Rodolfo Halffter and composition with Carlos Chavez and Hector Quintanar at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Mexico City from 1963-67, on a grant from the Secretaria de Educacion Publica. He then studied analysis with Jean-Etienne Marie at the Schola Cantorum in Paris from 1967-69, on a scholarship from the government of France. He also attended an analysis seminar with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in 1968, courses with Christoph Caskel, Henri Pousseur and Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne in 1968 and Darmstadt in 1969, where he encountered Gyorgy Ligeti. In addition, he worked at the electronic music studio of the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Mexico City in 1970 and of NHK in Tokyo in 1971-72.
>Among his many honors are the Diosa de Plata from the Asociacion de Periodistas y Criticos de Cine (1978, for Flores de papel, shared with Raoul Lavista), a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation (1987-88), the Premio Nacional de Artes y Ciencias (1991), and the Medalla Mozart (1991). In addition, he was named an emeritus composer by the Sistema Nacional de Creadores del Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA) (1993) and has received the Diploma de la Union Mexicana de Cronistas de Teatro y Musica (1999, for his entire oeuvre). For recordings of his music, he has received the award for best classical album of the year from the journalViceversa (1998, for Missa Brevis ad Consolationis Dominam Nostram) and a Grammy nomination (1999, shared with the other composers featured on the CRI recording Voces Americanas He has been a member of the Academia de Artes de Mexico since 1987 and El Colegio Nacional since 1998.
As a writer, he has contributed articles and essays to numerous publications, many of which appear in Mario Lavistatextos en torno a la musica (1988, CENIDIM, edited by Luis Jaime Cortez, second edition, 1990). His other writings include the lecture El lenguaje del musico (1999, El Colegio Nacional). He founded the music journal Talea at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in 1975 and edited it in 1975-76 and later founded the influential music journal Pauta in 1982 and has since served as its editor.
Prof. Lavista is also active in other positions. He founded the improvisational ensemble Quanta in 1970 and performed as a microtonal pianist with it from 1970-73. He has been a member of the board of editors of Ediciones Mexicanas de Musica since 1979 and a regular collaborator with the Ballet Nacional de Mexico since 1988. He also co-founded the Asociacion de Amigos del Museo Nacional de Virreinato in 1988 and served as a musical advisor to the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes from 1990-98 and to the Instituto Cultural Domecq from 1994-98. In addition, he has organized numerous events on Mexican music and served on many panels.
He taught music appreciation and 20th-century music at the Casa del Lago of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico from 1965-67, where he later served as chair of the music department of its Direccion de Difusion Cultural from 1974-76. He has taught as a professor of analysis of 20th-century music and composition at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Mexico City since 1970. He taught analysis, contemporary music, harmony, and musical culture at the Vida y Movimiento music school of the Conjunto Cultural Ollin Yoliztli in Mexico City from 1980-88. He has also frequently lectured and participated in forums, seminars, symposia, and workshops in the Americas and Europe and taught as a composer-in-residence or visiting professor at Indiana University, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Wisconsin.In addition to the works listed below, Prof. Lavista has composed music for many TV productions and his music has been used as the basis of numerous dance productions.