Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez (13 June 1899 – 2 August 1978) was a Mexican composer, conductor, music theorist, educator, journalist, and founder and director of the Mexican Symphonic Orchestra. He was influenced by native Mexican cultures. Of his six Symphonies, his Symphony No. 2, which uses native Yaqui percussion instruments, is probably the most popular.
The seventh child of a creole family, Chávez was born on Tacuba avenue in Mexico City, near the suburb of Popotla (Garcia Morillo 1960, 11). His paternal grandfather, José María Chávez Alonso, served as governor of the state of Aguascalientes and was ordered executed by Emperor Maximilian in 1864. His father, Augustín Chávez, invented a plough that was produced and used in the United States, and died when Carlos was barely three years old (Parker 1998, 3).
Carlos had his first piano lessons from his brother Manuel, and later on he was taught by Asunción Parra, Manuel Ponce and Pedro Luis Ozagón, for piano, and later Juan Fuentes for harmony. His family often went on vacations to Tlaxcala, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Oaxaca and other places where the cultural influence of the Aztec and other indigenous peoples was still very strong (Parker 2001).