Maestro Abraham Chavez, Jr., Former Music Director and Conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, enjoys an international reputation in multiple musical spheres - as a conductor, a violin soloist, a master teacher, and an inspired cultural leader. He was an artist in residence at UTEP before he left to become Professor of Music at the University of Colorado for nearly ten years. Currently, he is a Professor at UTEP.

In addition to his extensive conducting in Texas and the Southwest - including the Santa Fe Chamber Orchestra - Maestro Chavez has conducted the orchestras of Charlotte, Cedar Rapids, and Billings. Each season he is re-engaged to conduct orchestras in Mexico, including the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfonica de Xalapa, and the Tampico Symphony. In 1972, he took the All-American Symphony Orchestra on tour to six European countries. Maestro Chavez has recently returned from conducting the National Symphony of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).

Maestro Chavez performed as the featured soloist in a subscription concert with the EPSO nine times between 1951 and 1975. He performed the premiere of Cecil Effinger's Violin Concerto (dedicated to Issac Stern) as well as the American premiere of Russian David Finko's Viola Concerto. He gave a series of recitals at the Purbeck Music Festival (England, 1970) and shared a recital with pianist Oxana Yablonskaya (1981).

The Maestro's tireless conducting with colleges, festivals, and all-state orchestras has taken him to more than one-third of all of the States in the Union. Most appropriately, the American String Teachers Association named him "Teacher of the Year for Exceptional Leadership and Merit as a Violinist, Teacher, Conductor Extraordianaire" in 1986. The Texas Orchestra Teachers Association named him "Conductor of the Year." Back at home, his alma mater named him Outstanding Ex-Student (1984) and the City of El Paso gave him the Conquistador Award, the city's highest honor.

Maestro Chavez has provided musical leadership to the EPSO over the years. He began playing with the Symphony at the tender age of 13. Five years later, he was concertmaster. After military service, he was the concertmaster from 1947 to 1966. Many first-generation Chavez students occupy prominent positions in orchestras and on faculties around the country and in Mexico. They are teachers in area schools. They also make up the backbone of the present EPSO. The imprint and the legacy of Maestro Abraham Chavez, Jr., are everywhere to be seen.

Source: Music Department, University of Texas at El Paso