Tania León

Born in Cuba, Tania León is a highly regarded composer and conductor recognized for her accomplishments as an educator and an advisor to arts organizations. She has been profiled on ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, Univision, Telemundo, and independent films.

León’s works have been performed by such orchestras as the Gewaundhausorchester, Orchestra of Johannesburg, the China National Symphony, and the NDR Orchestra. She has collaborated with authors and directors including Rita Dove, John Ashbury, Derek Walcott, and Mark Lamos. In March 2001, León’s opera Scourge of Hyacinths, based on a play by Wole Soyinka opened at the Festival Centro Historico in Mexico City. The opera, commissioned in 1994 by the Munich Biennale, won the BMW Prize. Her Ácana was jointly commissioned and premiered by Orpheus at Carnegie Hall and by the Purchase College Orchestra.

León has appeared as guest conductor with the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Marseille, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Asturias, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, the Gewaundhausorchester, and the Orquesta de la Comunidad y Coro de Madrid. Her honors include the New York Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Fromm and Guggenheim fellowships.

A founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, León instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series, co-founded the American Composers Orchestra “Sonidos de las Americas Festivals,” and served as new music advisor to the New York Philharmonic. She has lectured at Harvard University, was visiting professor at Yale University, and was guest composer and conductor at the Hamburg Musikschule, Germany, and the Beijing Central Conservatory, China.

Tania León received honorary doctorate degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin College, and SUNY Purchase College. In 2008 she served as US Artistic Ambassador of American Culture in Madrid, Spain. A professor at Brooklyn College since 1985, León was named Distinguished Professor of the City University of New York in 2006.

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Jessye Norman