Marcela Pavia was born in Argentina of Italian descent, and also maintains Italian citizenship. She studied composition at the National University of Rosario in Argentina with Dante Grela, Francisco Kröpfl, and Franco Donatoni. She also studied in Milan, Biella and Academy Chigi of Siena, studying with Georgy Ligeti, Ennio Morricone and Henri Pousseur. She was artist-in-residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in the United States.
After receiving her degree, Pavia worked as a composer and taught music at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Manuel de Falla Conservatory in Buenos Aires, Universidad del Museo Social Argentino and the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires. Her music has been performed internationally.
Pavia has published articles in Codex XXI magazine, published by the Associació Música Tell (MIC) of Barcelona, and in Conceptos magazine, published by the Universidad del Museo Social Argentino (UMSA) in Buenos Aires. She has also published books of teaching repertoire.