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Tania León


For her "prolific and profound contributions to the classical music repertoire for over 50 years, as well as her indelible impact on the arts as a pianist, conductor, professor and musical director."

Official press release

Tania León (b. Havana, Cuba) is highly regarded as a composer, conductor, educator and advisor to arts organizations. Her orchestral work, “Stride,” commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music. In 2022, she was named a recipient of the 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements. Most recently, the London Philharmonic Orchestra announced Tania León as its next Composer-in-Residence — a post she will hold for two seasons, beginning in September 2023.

Recent premieres include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Grossman Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, Jennifer Koh’s project “Alone Together,” and The Curtis Institute. Appearances as guest conductor include Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Gewandhausorchester, Orquesta Sinfónica de Guanajuato, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuba, among others. Upcoming commissions feature a work for the League of American Orchestras and a work for Claire Chase, flute, and The Crossing with text by Rita Dove.

A founding member and first music director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, León instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series, co-founded the American Composers Orchestra’s Sonidos de las Américas Festivals, was new music advisor to the New York Philharmonic, and is the founder/artistic director of Composers Now, a presenting, commissioning and advocacy organization for living composers.

Honors include the New York Governor’s Lifetime Achievement, inductions into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and fellowship awards from ASCAP Victor Herbert Award and The Koussevitzky Music and Guggenheim Foundations, among others. She also received a proclamation from the New York City Mayor for Composers Now and the MadWoman Festival Award in Music (Spain).

León has received honorary doctorate degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin, SUNY Purchase College, and The Curtis Institute of Music, and served as U.S. artistic ambassador of American culture in Madrid, Spain. A CUNY professor emerita, she was awarded a 2018 United States Artists Fellowship, Chamber Music America’s 2022 National Service Award, and Harvard University’s 2022 Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award.