Eduardo Mata Is Dead at 52; Conducted Dallas SymphonyBy ALLAN KOZINN
The New York Times, Published: January 05, 1995
Eduardo Mata, a Mexican conductor who was the music director of the Dallas Symphony from 1977 to 1993, was killed yesterday when the plane he was flying crashed near the Cuernavaca airport in Mexico. He was 52 and lived in Xochitepec, Mexico. Also killed in the crash was Maria Anaya, a friend.
In his years on the Dallas podium, Mr. Mata improved the orchestra's performance standard and brought the ensemble into the national and international spotlight. He campaigned vigorously for the building of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, which opened in 1989.
He also made dozens of recordings with his Dallas players for the Dorian, RCA, Pro Arte, Telarc and Vox labels. He also recorded with Canadian and European orchestras. In recent years he was recording a series for Dorian devoted to Latin American works with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Caracas, of which he was principal guest conductor and artistic adviser.
Mr. Mata was born in Mexico City, and studied with the composers Carlos Chavez and Julian Orbon at the Mexican National Conservatory. As the recipient of a Koussevitzky Fellowship in 1964, he continued his studies at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., where he studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Erich Leinsdorf and composition with Gunther Schuller.
When he returned to Mexico that year, he was appointed to his first conducting post, as music director of the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra. He was appointed director of the University of Mexico Philharmonic in 1966. In the 1970's, before taking over Dallas, he held directorships of the Phoenix Symphony, the National Symphony of Mexico, the San Salvador Festival and the Casals Festival.
In Dallas he was also a principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony and the director of the National Opera of Mexico. He also had an active guest conducting schedule, appearing regularly in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Frankfurt and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Known for his clean, direct interpretations, Mr. Mata was at his most eloquent in music by Silvestre Revueltas, Alberto Ginastera, Heitor Villa-Lobos and other Latin American composers. But he also conducted and recorded a broad repertory that ranged from Mozart and Schumann to 20th-century American, Russian and French composers.
When he gave up the Dallas podium after 16 seasons, he became conductor emeritus. He was also the principal guest conductor of the New Zealand Symphony and the artistic director of the Solistas de Mexico in recent years.
He is survived by a son, Roberto, and a daughter, Pilar, both of Mexico City.
This interview was recorded in
Chicago on January 4, 1991. Portions were used (with recordings)
on WNIB in 1992 and 1997. The
transcription was made and posted on this
website in 2012.
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