The composer Mercedes Zavala Gironés was born in Madrid 1963. She studied Piano and Composition at the Madrid Music Conservatoire, subjects she studied further with various teachers, especially in the fields of performance of 20th century piano music, teaching and composition. She has been a pupil of Malcolm Singer (Guildhall School teacher and headmaster of Yehudi Menuhin School at London), a main figure in her development like composer.

Her works has been played first in England and then in the rest of Europe: Wien (1995: premiere of Cómo es y del Diario (íntimo) de Sara-Clarabella Max), France (2001:Aujourd`Hui Musiques at Perpignan) and Germany (2002: Contemporary Spanish Music in Europe), Italy, Israel, etc.. In 1995 The Western Illinois University (USA) comissioned to her a work for the Hispanic Culture Festival, inviting her to give some lectures and recitals where he premiered her own works.

Estreno de El Océano sin nombre (2004)
In Spain her work as a composer starts to be seriously recognized since 1999 (Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Alicante, Ministry of Culture commission), being played in the more significant musical events of Contemporary Music since then like the XIX Festival de Música del Siglo XX (Bilbao 1999), Festival Internacional de Música Electroacústica (Madrid 2001), Encuentro de Composición INJUVE (invited composer and comission for La apoteosis nocturna de Andoar, Mollina-CBA de Madrid 2001), VII ciclo de Música Contemporánea Orquesta Ciudad de Málaga (2001), “Música Hoy”: la nueva generación (Madrid, 2003), Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada (2003), Festival de Otoño (Madrid, 2003), Aula de Reestrenos de la Fundación Juan March (2004), Ciclo de Música Contemporánea de Tres Cantos (2004-2009)… El océano sin nombre, a score for Symphonic Orchestra, was premiered at Madrid (Auditorio Nacional, OSMUM, 27 de Marzo 2004). El Libro de la Almohada (CDMC comission, Ministry of Culture) , a concert for Clarinet and Large Ensemble written for José Luis Estellés and TaimaGranada, was premiered at Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Alicante 2005. Between her last creations some vocal works can be remarked, like the Song Cycle for Sopran and Piano, La Sed (2003), or the stage work Bestiarium (2006), and in 2008 the instrumental pieces La imagen del espejo, for violin and piano (comissioned by Fundación Canal), Variaciones en Blanco (comission of Plural Ensemble) or in 2009 Jardines lejanos for the cycle "Albéniz en contexto" (comission of Auditorio Nacional). In 2010 Mercedes Zavala was a invited composer in Festival "Puentes" (Mexico DF) and in 2011 to The  Music contemporary Festival of La Habana, Cuba. She has been recently invited as composer to Arena Festival of Riga in 2012, Denmark, Risuonanze incontri 2013 in Italy  and she is preparing premieres now in Como, Australia, New Zealand, England, Denmark and USA. The influence of the Literature and Poetry it is one of the main characteristics of her musical thinking.

Estreno de Mirada
en España (1997)
Beyond Mercedes Zavala dedication to Composition are important activities in Teaching and Research. In 1990 she translated the Traité de Fugue de André Gedalge and became Teacher at Madrid Conservatory, where today she stays on teaching Analysis, Harmony, Counterpoint and Composition and XXth century Music. Also in this year she starts to work at Grupo Secuencia, playing piano and exploring theatrical and sociological aspects of musical performance. She has made researches on African Music, travelling to Senegal in 1996 to study percussion with Professor N’Diaye (Louga, Cercle de la Jeunesse). In 1997 she graduated in Philosophy, studying after a postgraduate related to Aesthetics. In 2005-2008 she has been in charge of cultural activities at Conservatorio Profesional Teresa Berganza de Madrid. In 2007 she has worked for Radio Nacional de España (Radio Clásica) making the program Álbum de Canciones, dedicated to Concert Songs and Lieder.

She has spent a lot of time and efforts to the study and diffusion of historical repertory of Women Composers, doing several Lectures and Workshops. Between them: Música y mujeres a lo largo de la Historia (2005), for Teachers at Comunidad de Madrid for General Education and Music Schools and Conservatories. Mujeres, Sonido y Virtualidad: Lenguajes que envuelven (Cursos de Verano 2006 de El Escorial, Universidad Complutense de Madrid) and Género y expresión estética en la música (Master en Feminismo y Género at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. 2005-2008). She belongs since 2002 to the Instituto de Investigaciones Feministas, at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Institute for Feminist Research), being active in diffusion of Women Music. From 2007 to 2010 she was in charge of Asociación Mujeres en la Música (Spanish Women in Music Society).

Other references: