Date(s) - 11/19/2021
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Cornell University Lincoln Hall B20
On Friday, November 19, León will participate in a special Friday edition of Midday Music at 11:30 am in Lincoln Hall B20. Cornell musicologist Alejandro L. Madrid will facilitate a conversation about León’s life and career apropos the publication of his book Tania León’s Stride: A Polyrhythmic Life. León asked Madrid if he was interested in writing her biography, and Madrid notes they share not only a history of migration from Latin America, but also “a multiethnic and multicultural background and a proclivity to question conventional identity labels.” In writing about a living composer, Madrid says that “my main challenge was to develop a narrative that respected León’s desire to celebrate her legacy while maintaining a critical perspective. Understanding the story-telling process as a counterpoint in which León’s voice was a cantus firmus in constant dialogue with other voices (her colleagues, her relatives, her students, and myself as mediator) allowed me to escape the temptation of simply writing an uncritical hagiography.” Topics for this conversation will include León’s relationship with the New York Philharmonic and the commission of her Pulitzer-winning Stride.
León then joins the Composers’ Forum at 1:30 pm, also on November 19 in Lincoln Hall B20, where she will present recent performances of new works.
León’s recent commissions include works for New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Grossman Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, and pianist Ursula Oppens with Cassatt String Quartet. Appearances as guest conductor include Philharmonic Orchestra of Marseille, Gewandhausorchester, Orquesta Sinfonica de Guanajuato, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuba. Upcoming premieres feature commissions for the NewMusic USA Amplifying Voices Program, The Musical Fund Society in Philadelphia to celebrate their 200th anniversary, and for The Crossing chamber choir with Claire Chase, flutist, among others.
A founding member 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 the nonprofit and festival Composers Now.
In addition to the Pulitzer, her honors include the New York Governor’s Lifetime Achievement, awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the ASCAP Victor Herbert Award, among others.