Tania León is highly regarded as a composer, conductor, educator and adviser 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. In 2023, she was awarded the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition from Northwestern University.
Most recently, León became the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s next composer-in-residence — a post that she will hold for two seasons, beginning this September. The Cuban native also will hold Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair for its 2023-2024 season. Her chamber music work Arenas D’Un Tiempo (1922), for cello, clarinet and piano, will be performed in a CSO MusicNOW concert March 3.
Recent premieres include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Grossman Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Modern Ensemble, 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 flutist Claire Chase and the Crossing Choir 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 adviser 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 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 Eervice Award, and Harvard University’s 2022 Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award. In 2023, Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library acquired Tania’s León’s archive.