Maria Chavez is an avant-garde sound artist from Lima, Peru. She is well-regarded for her experimental turntable performances and is often referred to as a turntablist. Chavez's work is primarily influenced by the improvisational nature of contemporary art as well as the notion of time as a paradox. Her stylistic use of needles in her work allows for the unique sounds that characterize her work with the turntable. The process of wear that a needle is subjected to as it is used on vinyl causes the sounds to evolve, hence the artist's reference to needles as the “pencils of sound.” Chavez's appreciation of the process of deterioration is evident in her work, and many of her artworks and installations are site-specific to emphasize the effects of deterioration and the passage of time within a given environment.
Chavez has performed her music globally, in places such as Moscow, Lisbon, Basel, and Istanbul as well as in a screenplay by composer Christian Marclay at the Whitney Museum. She has worked as an artist in residence at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Clocktower, the Dia:Beacon Museum, and Issue Project Room. She has been awarded the Jerome Foundation's Emerging Artist Grant and the Van Lier Fellowship by the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust.
In 2012, she published a book entitled Of Technique: Chance Procedures on Turntable, which delves into the abstract techniques she employs on the turntable and serves as “how-to” manual for aspiring turntablists.