"Reflejos de la noche (Reflections of the Night) for string orchestra, was presented at both the beginning and at the end of the program, each time in appropriately low light. Lavista had the strings play harmonics throughout -- the eerie, whispery reflections of fundamental pitches that are never heard. The sheer otherworldliness of the sounds dominated first impressions, but upon closer acquaintance, the piece's glissandi, dynamic shifts and flickering melodies conjured a hypnotic musical landscape."
- Andrew Lindemann Malone, Washington Post
Born in Mexico City in 1943, Mario Lavista began piano studies as a child and enrolled at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in 1963 under the guidance of Carlos Chavez, Hector Quintanar and Rodolfo Halffter. He studied at the Schola Cantorum in Paris (1967-1969), where he also attended courses given by Henri Pousseur, Nadia Boulanger, Christoph Caskel and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Upon his return to Mexico he founded Quanta, a collective improvisation group. In 1972, he worked at the electronic music studio of radio and television in Tokyo, Japan. He has worked on interdisciplinary projects, such as Jaula (1976), and in the creation of multiple scores for films produced by Nicolas Echevarria. Around 1980, he explored extended techniques of traditional instruments in collaboration with performers Marielena Arizpe (flutist), Bertram Turetzky (bassist), Leonora Saavedra (oboist) and El Cuarteto Latinoamericano (strings), in the compositions Triptico, Dusk, Marsias and Reflejos de la noche, respectively. In 1982, he founded Pauta, one of the most important music journals in Latin America, and has served as its chief editor ever since. As a writer, he has produced many essays, most of which are collected in Textos en torno a la musica.
In 1987. he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his first and only opera Aura, based on the short story by Carlos Fuentes. He has received many awards, such as the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes and the Medalla Mozart. Since 1998, Lavista has been a member of the prestigious EI Colegio Nacional. He has taught in Mexico and abroad, especially in North American institutions, including the University of Chicago, Cornell University, the University of California San Diego, Indiana University and McGill University. His works are frequently performed by some of the most distinguished chamber and orchestral groups.
Mario Lavista's music is published by Ediciones Mexicanas De Musica, A.C., Mexico City. Peermusic Classical is sole agent outside of Mexico.