updated 25 May 2023

Javier Alvarez

Mexican composer residing in the UK, born 8 May 1956 in Mexico City, died 24 May 2023.

Born in Mexico City in 1956, Javier Alvarez began his musical career as a clarinetist and studied composition at the Mexican Conservatorio Nacional de Música with Mario Lavista. He continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin where he received a degree in composition. With support from the Arts Council of Great Britain, he pursued his study of music in England, working with John Mambert at the Royal College of Music and at City University in London. His first electroacoustic work, (Temazcal for maracas and tape (1984), dates from this period.

Alvarez’s compositional style is highly personal and independent. Most of his work has focused on mixed music, with a particular interest in computer music technology and composition. His intensely energetic music has tremendous momentum that achieves great complexity without losing its clarity or logic. His work is equally influenced by his extensive experience in electronic music, his interest in spectral music, and his use of rhythmic motifs drawn from popular musical traditions from around the world. His 1992 composition Mannam combines the kayagum (Korean zither) with digitally processed sounds from the instrument; his 2001 piece Offrande mixes Caribbean steelpans and electronically processed rhythmic patterns. Mambo à la Braque, written in 1991, is an electroacoustic collage of musical segments from Caballo Negro, a mambo written by Dámaso Perez Prado.

Javier Alvarez has taught at the University of Hertfordshire, the Malmö Music Academy in Sweden, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the University of London, and the Royal College of Music. In 1993, he served as the director of the Society for the Promotion of New Music. After twenty-five years in England, he returned to Mexico to serve as Dean of the Conservatorio de Las Rosas in Morelia, Michoacán, and helped to found the Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán, where he is now dean, as well as the Sonic Arts Network. He works with the contemporary music ensemble sequenzaSUR, serves as the the artistic director of the Manuel Enriquez International Forum of New Music, and on the artistic board of the Morelia Music Festival.

Awards, Grants, and Prizes:

  • ICEM Prize, Festival de Bourges (France) in 1987 for Papalotl
  • Honorable Mention in the Bourges International Festival (France) in 1988 for Temazcal
  • Ars Electronica Prize (Austria) in 1988 for Papalotl
  • Ars Electronica Prize (Austria) in 1993 for Mannam
  • Mexican National Endowment for the Arts and Culture Grant in 1993 and 1999
  • Mendelssohn Scholarship
  • Lionel Robbins Award
  • Gemini Fellowship
  • Commande d’Etat (Commission from the French Ministry of Culture) in 2002 (for an electroacoustic composition)
  • Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes (Mexico) 2013
  • Medalla Bellas Artes, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (Mexico), 2014

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 1998


Site du compositeur (voir resssources documentaires)

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en avril 2023).


  • Javier ALVAREZ, Negro fuego cruzado, avec des œuvres de Eugenio Toussaint, Ana Lara, Arturo Fuentes, Hilda Paredes et Gonzalo Macías, dans « Negro Fuego Cruzado », 1 CD Urtext, 2016.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Temazcal, dans « Electric Counterpoint », 1 CD Signum Classics, 2009.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Triple enclave, Elena Riu : piano, dans « Salsa Nueva », 1 CD Somm, 2005.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Cactus géométries, Offrande, dans « Javier Alvarez : Cactus géométries, Offrande », Florent Jodelet, Simon Limbrick (steeldrum), CD Ina/Grm, 2004.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Metro Nativitas, dans « The Opus 18 Project - Beethoven / Brodsky Quartet », 1 CD Challenge, 2003.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, N mambo, dans « Spectrum 3 » (avec également des œuvres de Jean-Marc Singier, Peteris Plakidis et Karen Tanaka), Thalia Myers (piano), CD Métronome, 2001.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Mambo à la Braque (extrait), dans « eXcitations » (avec également des œuvres de Natasha Barrett, Ned Bouhalassa, Christian Calon, Jean-Christophe Camps, Michel Chion, Yves Daoust, Francis Dhomont, Paul Dolden etc.), CD Empreinte Digitale, 2000.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Acuerdos Por diferencia, Temazcal, Papalotl, Mannam, Así el Acero, dans « Javiez Alvarez : Papalotl », Hugh Webb (harpe), Philip Mead (piano), CD Saydisc, 1994.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Mambo à la Braque, dans « Électro clips » (avec également des œuvres de Charles Amirkhanian, Christian Calon, Yves Daoust, John Oliver, John Oswald, Zack Settel etc.), CD Empreinte Digitale, 1996.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Acuerdos por Diferencia ; Temazcal ; Papalotl ; Mannam ; Así el acero, dans « Papalotl-Transformaciones Exóticas », 1 CD Saydisc, 1994.
  • Javier ALVAREZ, Mannam, dans « Prix Ars Electronica 93 » (avec également des œuvres de Jonty Harrison et Bernard Parmegiani), CD Ars Electronica, 1993.