City University of New York
“September 30, 2010 | Brooklyn College
Brooklyn, N.Y.—While Professor Tania León of the Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College is no stranger to participating in concerts throughout the world, the most recent invitation was of particular significance to her.
“León, who last April became the first Latino woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, was officially invited to participate in the second Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music in Havana, Cuba, where some of her compositions will be presented for the first time. The two-week festival, named after Cuba’s best known guitar composer, will honor the memory of Alejandro García Caturla, an early 20th-century composer who introduced elements of popular Cuban music into classical compositions and who passed away 70 years ago.
“Although this is not the first time that León has traveled to her native country since she left Havana in the mid-1960s, it is the first time that she’s been invited as a musician. 'To return as a woman composer and conductor of classical music and CUNY professor strikes a very personal and emotional nerve,' León said in an interview days before heading to Havana. 'I’ll be proud to bring my mother, who is 85, to the concert,' she added, recalling her emotional farewell with her late grandmother, to whom she promised to return as a musician. 'She was always supportive of this most unusual aspiration for a woman.'
“A CUNY Distinguished Professor, León said an ensemble of Cuban musicians will be playing the pieces chosen by the festival, including Alma (Soul), a piece for flute commissioned by Marya Martin of the Manhattan School of Music three years ago; and 1992’s Arenas d’un Tiempo (Sands of Time), inspired by her reflections on a visit to Brasil. Noting that she would like to see more women composers following on her footsteps, she said her students at the conservatory gave her a very emotional farewell. 'Con mucho cariño,' she said (with great warmth). 'It was very rewarding.'” [The website of Tania León is http://www.tanialeon.com/; she is also profiled at AfriClassical.com]
Leo Brouwer Festival