Mexico City will be hosting the 54th annual conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology, November 19-22, 2009. The institutions involved in the organization of the event are Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información Musical Carlos Chavez of the Instituto Nacional de los Artes (CENIDIM-INBA); Escuela Nacional de Música, Universidad Autónoma de México (ENM-UNAM); Escuela Superior de Música-INBA; Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares de la Dirección General de Culturas Populares (MNCPI-DGCPI); Escuela Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museografía (ENCRM) of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología (INAH); Comisión de los Pueblos Indios (CDI); Fonoteca del Centro Nacional de las Artes of the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (CNA-CONACULTA); and the Secretaría de Cultura del Departamento del Distrito Federal (SC-DDF). Pre-Conference and Conference activities will be held in two areas, both beautiful and rich in culture and history: downtown Coyoacán, the site of the first town hall of New Spain, and the Meliá Hotel on Reforma Avenue, a few blocks west of Mexico City’s historical downtown. These districts offer green areas, a great variety of museums, galleries, theaters, parks, restaurants, historical sites, and complementary cultural activities, as well as the technology and services that will guarantee the success of our meeting.

A Pre-Conference, entitled “La Investigación Musical en México: Pasado, Presente y Futuro” (“Music Research in Mexico: Past, Present, and Future”), will take place in Coyoacán on November 18. There will also be a number of lectures, concerts, exhibits, and other celebrations during the days before the conference. These activities will be sponsored by the host institutions mentioned above. Coyoacán is located about 35 minutes south of downtown Mexico City; it is worth mentioning that there are several hotels within walking distance (about 20 minutes) from downtown Coyoacán.

The main conference will be held at the Meliá Hotel, November 19-21, and in Coyoacán on November 22. The Meliá Hotel offers rooms, restaurants, and all necessary services, although many other food and lodging possibilities exist in the area. The hotel is just 15 minutes from both Mexico City’s historical downtown and the Chapultepec Forest, where additional events sponsored by CONACULTA, INAH, INBA, CDI, and SC-DDF will take place

We decided to have our meeting right before Thanksgiving weekend to allow for a longer stay in Mexico for those wishing to do so.

We suggest flying to Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport. Visitors are strongly advised to take one of the pre-paid authorized taxis inside the airport; approximate driving time from the airport to downtown Coyoacán and downtown Mexico City is around 35 and 25 minutes respectively, depending on arrival time. The Mexico City airport has two terminals, we urge you to find out which one you will be flying into to avoid possible confusion. An alternative would be flying into the Toluca International Airport (in the nearby city of Toluca); if you opt for this, be aware that the driving distances between Toluca and Coyoacán and the Meliá Hotel are about 60 and 50 minutes respectively.

The estimated driving times are based on normal conditions. Like in any other large city, this may be affected by traffic jams, rush hour, as well as urban constructions (Metro, Metrobus, and commuter train) and the renovation work currently being done for the 2010 centennial and bi-centennial celebrations of Mexico’s Revolution and Independence respectively.

The Local Arrangements Committee and the host institutions welcome you to Mexico City. We are confident you will enjoy a weekend of interesting discussions, learning, teaching, making music, and overall entertainment.

J. Guillermo Contreras Arias, Chair of the Local Arrangement Committee