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Revueltas, Silvestre (1899–1940)

Revueltas, Silvestre (1899–1940)

Silvestre Revueltas (b. 31 December 1899; d. 5 October 1940), Mexican violinist, composer, and conductor from Santiago Papasquiaro, Durango. He started violin lessons at age eight in Colima, and continued in Mexico City in 1913. His high school years at St. Edwards College in Austin, Texas (1916–1918), were followed with advanced training at the Chicago Music College (1918–1920; 1922–1924). He worked as a freelance violinist and conductor in the United States and Mexico before settling permanently in Mexico City, where he was appointed Carlos Chávez's assistant conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Mexico in 1928. Revueltas also taught violin and chamber music at the National Conservatory, serving as its interim director briefly in 1933. In 1937 Revueltas went to Spain to join the Loyalists in the Civil War.

Revueltas's compositions embody the Mexican spirit in their vigorous, indigenous rhythms and bracing dissonances, taking on in some instances the character of musical landscapes (Janitzio, 1933). He was one of the first in Mexico to compose for films in the emerging sound cinema industry (Redes, 1935). His substantial and colorful output and its universal appeal have made him perhaps the most revered Mexican composer of the twentieth century.

See alsoChávez, Carlos; Music: Art Music.


Robert Stevenson, Music in Mexico: A Historical Survey (1952).

Additional Bibliography

Bitran, Yael, and Ricardo Miranda. Diálogo de resplandores: Carlos Chávez y Silvestre Revueltas Mexico City: INBA, 2002.

Contreras Soto, Eduardo. Silvestre Revueltas: Baile, duelo y son. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Dirección General de Publicaciones, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2000.

Cortez M., Luis Jaime. Favor de no disparar sobre el pianista: Una vida de Silvestre Revueltas. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, Dirección General de Publaciones, 2000.

Kolb, Roberto. Silvestre Revueltas (1899–1940): Catálogo de sus obras. Coyoacán: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Escuela Nacional de Música, 1998.

Sanchez-Gutierrez, Carlos. "The Cooked and the Raw: Syncretism in the Music of Silvestre Revueltas." Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1996.

                                    Robert L. Parker

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