Skip to main content

Music as an Intellectual Practice in Mexico’s El Colegio Nacional

Ana R. Alonso-Minutti , Department of Music

Sunday, March 01, 2015 | 12:00 pm

Latin American and Iberian Institute (801 Yale Blvd NE)

801 Yale Blvd NE (campus building #165)


Dr. Ana R. Alonso-Minutti explores music as an intellectual discipline in the context of El Colegio Nacional, and specifically Carlos Chávez’s role in establishing the figure of the composer-intellectual. Founded by presidential decree in 1943, El Colegio Nacional stands as the most prestigious intellectual apparatus in Mexico. Among its founding members, Chávez stood out as a central figure in the development and orientation of the cultural practices of the country. Interested in securing a place for music within this circle, Chávez established a model of a composer-intellectual who follows a modernist ideology of musical progress. Over seventy years later, this model still stands. Chávez’s successors at this institution have succeeded in defending this ideology and, as a consequence, have guaranteed State support for the creation and performance of Mexican contemporary concert music.

Alonso-Minutti is an Assistant Professor of Musicology and faculty affiliate of the Latin American & Iberian Institute at UNM. Alonso-Minutti holds degrees from the Universidad de las Américas, Puebla (BA) and the University of California, Davis (MA, PhD). Her main interests are avant-garde expressions, interdisciplinary artistic intersections, intellectual elites, and cosmopolitanism. Currently she is writing a book tentatively entitled Mario Lavista and Musical Cosmopolitanism in Late Twentieth-Century Mexico, to be published by Oxford University Press.

Photograph of founding members of El Colegio Nacional (1943), courtesy of the Centro de Información-Fototeca de El Colegio Nacional.