Manuel Gregorio Tavárez

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Manuel Gregorio Tavárez Ropero
Manuel Gregorio Tavarez.jpg
"Father of the Puerto Rican danza"
"The Chopin of America"
Background information
Born (1843-11-28)November 28, 1843
Origin San Juan, Puerto Rico
Died July 1, 1883
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Genres Danza
Occupation(s) Musician

Manuel Gregorio Tavárez Ropero (November 16, 1843[1] – July 1, 1883), was a Puerto Rico's classical and danza composer. He has been called "The Chopin of America".[2]

Early years[edit]

Tavárez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of a French father and a Puerto Rican mother. San Juan was the city where he first began his musical studies. His first musical mentors were José Cabrizas and Domingo Delgado.[3] Tavárez was a student of Gonzalo de J. Núñez (1850 – 1915[4]), whose students also included the internationally-known musicians and composers Juan Morel Campos and Arístides Chavier Arévalo.[5] Tavárez became an accomplished pianist at an early age. He was able to enroll and study music in the Music Conservatory of Paris at the age of 15 with a scholarship granted by "The Economic Society of Friends of Puerto Rico" (La Sociedad Económica Amigos del Pais). Tavárez studied under the guidance of Auber and D'Albert. While in France, Tavárez suffered a stroke which left his hand partially paralyzed.[6]

Tavárez returned to Puerto Rico because of his health problems. He settled down in Ponce where he gave piano lessons. He was able to overcome his health problems and began to put on musical concerts of his compositions.[7]

"Father of the Puerto Rican Danza"[edit]

Tavárez is considered to be Puerto Rico's first Romantic era composer. He also composed music in other genres as well. Among his best known works was the funeral March: Rendención (Redemption), dedicated to honor the memory of José Campeche, the Rhapsody: Souvener de Puerto Rico, and his Danzas: Recuerdos de Antaño (Remembrance of Yesteryear) and what is considered his greatest work, the danza Margarita. The music created by Tavárez would always be recognized as an integral part of Puerto Rican culture. Tavárez is known as the "Father of the Puerto Rican Danza". Among his most distinguished disciples was the composer Juan Morel Campos.[7] His daughter Elisa Tavárez would also become an accomplished pianist.[6]


Manuel Gregorio Tavárez Ropero died on July 1, 1883 in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. He was 39 years old.

Selection of Danzas by Tavárez[edit]

External audio
You may listen to Luciano Quiñones piano interpretation of Tavárez's "Margarita" here

The following is a list of some of Tavárez's Danzas:[8]

  • La Sensitiva (The sensitive one)
  • Margarita
  • Recuerdos de Antaño (Remembrance of Yesteryear)
  • Redención (Redemption)
  • Souvener de Puerto Rico
  • Un Recuerdito (A small remembrance)

Honors and recognitions[edit]

Tavárez has been honored by the Government of Puerto Rico with the naming of public buildings and institutions after him. In San Juan, there is a theater named after him. His music can still be appreciated in concerts today. In Ponce, he is recognized at the Ponce Park of the Illustrious Ponce Citizens.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Manuel Gregorio Tavarez. Encyclopedia Puerto Rico. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  2. ^ A Spanish Pianist Who has Won Fame – Elisa Tavarez. The Music Magazine-musical Courier. Volume 75. November 8, 1917. Page 49. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  3. ^ Manuel Gregorio Tavárez
  4. ^ Music: up close and personal. Annie Laurie Cisneros. The Panama News: Panama's Online Newspaper. Vol. 9. Number 20. Oct 19 – November 8, 2003. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  5. ^ CHAPTER I, ISLAND LIFE FROM 1898 TO 1922. José A. Montalvo. Héctor Campos Parsi: The development of 20th Century Music in Puerto Rico. 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  6. ^ a b La Danza. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "La_Danza" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  7. ^ a b Music of Puerto Rico
  8. ^ Danza's
  9. ^ Music. Travel Retrieved October 3, 2013.

Revista Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (in Spanish)