Tania León, the Cuban–born composer who “has played an active role in shaping American musical life” (New York Times) since 1967, joins National Sawdust as a curator in the 2018-2019 season. From her time serving as as a founding member and inaugural musical director of Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem to her position advising Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, this composer, conductor and artistic advisor continuously defies notions of race and gender through her work. She brings this defiant spirit to her curation at National Sawdust, where she will present a concert of music written entirely by Latina women, serve as a judge for the Hildegard Competition for female and nonbinary composers, and showcasing her own iconic compositions in an evening honoring her work.
Tania León is a Cuban–born composer, conductor, educator, and advisor to arts organizations. In 1969, León became a founding member and the first musical director of Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem, establishing its music department, music school, and orchestra. She instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series in 1978, and in 1994 co-founded the American Composers Orchestra Sonidos de las Americas Festivals as Latin American Music Advisor. From 1993 to 1997 she was the New Music Advisor to Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic. She also served as Latin American Music Advisor to the American Composers Orchestra until 2001. León is Founder and Artistic Director of the Composers Now Festival. Her compositions include “Dougla” (1974), “Scourge of Hyacinths” (1994), “Horizons” (1999), “Inura” (2009), “Rimas Tropicales” (2011), “Ethos” (2014) and “Ser” (2017). She received the Mad Women Festival Award in Music, in Madrid, Spain in 2017 and most recently the 2018 USA Artist Fellowship.