Manuel Gregorio Tavarez (28 Nov 1843 – 01 July 1883)

   In 1843 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Manuel Tavarez was born, beginning the life of one of Puerto Rico’s most famous composers and music educators. It was in his adolescence, around the age of 15, that Manuel began his musical training. He took lessons in piano and organ from educators Jose Cabrizas and Domingo Delgado (Batista, “Tavarez”). In 1856, he traveled to France to study at the Paris Music Conservatory. Though he excelled at his musical training, an unforeseen stroke left him nearly deaf and partially paralyzed in his right hand, symptoms which he eventually overcame (“Manuel Gregorio Tavarez”). This created a divergence in his musical career and forced him to return to Puerto Rico where he started teaching and composing in Ponce, most directly in the French piano style (“Manuel Gregorio Tavarez”). It was during this time of educating that his eventual protégé, Juan Morel Campos, came into his life.

   Between 1867 and the end of his life, Tavarez became an unparalleled influence, now known as “the father of the danza,” as he was one of the first to compose the danza as salon music. He created over 40 pieces with his most famous being the Margarita in 1870 (Batista, “Tavarez”). Puerto Rico, cultural and ethnically varied, was highly populated by the Spanish who controlled the island throughout the century. This influenced Tavarez’s musical style as he utilized the musical traditions of Spain and European romanticism to enrich the orchestral movement of the 19th century (“Manuel Gregorio Tavarez”).  His musical achievements include contributing to the publishing of two Puerto Rican musical collections: the Album Filharmónica, in 1863, as well as El Delirio Puertorriqueño, between the years of 1867 and 1869 (Batista, “Tavarez”). As a pianist and composer, Manuel Gregorio Tavarez created waltzes, operas, danzas and marches. Though, he died in 1883 at the early age of 39 (“Manuel Gregorio Tavarez), his musical influence is still felt today.

Works Cited

Bailyn, Evan. “Manuel Gregorio Tavarez.” Music of Puerto Rico. 13 June. 2006. Web. 26 Feb. 2012.

Batista, Gustavo. “Tavárez, Manuel Gregorio.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 26 Feb. 2012


Danzas puertorriqueñas

Date: 195-

Publisher: Puerto Rico: Marvela

Medium: LP

Performer: Elisa Taverez, piano.

Pieces: Melancolia ; Ausencia ; Violeta ; Margarita


Hermosos recuerdos: Evangelina Colon canta danzas de Puerto Rico

Date: 1996

Publisher: Brooklyn, N.Y: ACI Records

Edition/Format: Audio CD

Piece: Margarita; Manuel G. Taverez

Performer: Evangelina Colon, soprano; Jan Jozef Wnek, piano.


Jesus Maria Sanroma interpreta danzas de Manuel G. Taverez

Date: 1984

Publisher: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena

Edition/Format: LP

Performer: Jesus Maria Sanroma


Margarita: danza

Date: 1922

Publisher: San Juan: Rollos Mesonora corp.

Medium: Roll

Performer: Manuel Gregorio Taverez, piano.


Musica de Manuel G. Taverez

Date: 1990

Publisher: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena

Author: Manuel G. Taverez; Elisa Taverez

Edition/Format: cassette recording

Dance forms; Marches; Waltzes; No linguistics included

Performer: Elisa Taverez, Piano.


Musica Puertorriquena

Date: [197?]

Publisher: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena

Author: Manuel G. Tavarez; Elisa Tavarez

Edition/Format: Sound Recording

Dance forms; Waltzes; Marches

Performer: Elisa Taverez, piano.


Primeras danzas

Date: 1976

Publisher: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena

Medium: LP

Performer: Elias Lopez Soba, piano.

Piece: Como me miora el viejo / Manuel G. Taverez

Un Mensaje y Nuestras Danzas

Date: 1981

Publisher: Puerto Rico: Citibank

Medium: LP

Performer: Jesus M. Sanroma, piano.

Piece: Margarita / M.G. Tavarez


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