José Pablo Moncayo
Born June 29, 1912 in Guadalajara, Mexico
Died June 15, 1958 in Mexico City, Mexico
Huapango, Tres Piezas ("Three Piano Pieces")
José Pablo Moncayo was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and studied piano as a boy. He entered the Mexico City Conservatory where he continued his piano studies with Hernandez Moncayo and studied composition with Carlos Chavez. One of Moncayo's first professional jobs was as a percussionist with the Mexican State Symphony Orchestra. He later conducted the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico City from 1949-1952. He was also invited to study with American composer Aaron Copland.
As a member of a set of people nicknamed the "Group of Four," Moncayo, along with three other composers, Galindo, Caontreras, and Ayalas, wrote music that reflected the nationalistic spirit of Mexico. Much of this music used melodies, rhythms, and harmonies drawn from the folk music of Mexico. In his famous piece, Huapango, Mancayo used music of the Mexican folk dances El siquisirii, El balaju, and El avilan.