Tania Leon, composer and conductor
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Tania Leon, Composer and Conductor, Press and Media  


Tania León conducting the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra in July 2015
(photo by Nantapipat Vutthisak and Natthapong Sirisit)

Interview: "5 Questions to Tania León" with Arlene & Larry Dunn of the blog I Care If You Listen

Lawrence Budman of South Florida Classical Review, on del Caribe, soy, March 30, 2014:
"The most compelling and original of the new scores was Tania León's del Caribe, soy. A well-traveled symphonic conductor, teacher and founding music director of the Dance Theater of Harlem, León has fashioned a riveting vignette that mixes bird calls and whistles, fragments of Latin melodies, atonal piano effects and high, off-balance flute writing of the 1960s avant garde variety. León's misty portrait of the Caribbean sky, breeze and ocean is a terrific addition to the flute repertoire. Torres coped manfully with the score's extended technical requirements and León was a commanding presence at the piano."
Click here to read the complete review

Mark Eden Horowitz of The Sondheim Review, on going...gone, December 1, 2012:
"Leon's piece evolved organically and in unexpected ways...The resulting work is a haunting mosaic."
Click here to read the complete review

David DeBoor Canfield of Fanfare Magazine on the CDs In Motion and Singin' Sepia:
"Warning! There is an allure in the music of Tania León that immediately grips the listener, and demands his undivided attention, drawing him into her distinctive world. This is not background music that can be listened to with one ear while the other is focused on something else. Although one might perceive influences from Harry Partch, John Cage, Peter Sculthorpe, Hans Werner Henze, and any number of the other innovative composers of our time, the artistic voice of León is utterly distinctive, and once one has listened to her music for any length of time, it will not be mistaken as the work of any other composer... Inura...is an utterly captivating work from beginning to end...

"Singin' Sepia...includes most innovative figurations that are impossible to describe in words...León's setting spans the gamut from dramatic intensity to quiet resignation, from atonal lyricism to pointillism...Her virtuosic writing doesn't end here, but continues most dramatically in Axon, for violin and interactive computer. The title comes from the filaments in neurons that carry impulses through the nervous system...one of the most dramatic and exciting works I've ever heard for my favorite instrument. Mind you, as all of León's work, this is not music for the timid, or I should say, for those whose ears have not been stretched and tuned to the most advanced music of our era.

"The Bridge CD closes with an orchestral work, Horizons. The complexities found in all of the previous pieces on this CD reach their zenith here. It's in the same league in that respect as Akira Miyoshi's Concerto for Orchestra (one of my "desert island" pieces). Peter Ruzicka and the NDR Symphony Orchestra effect a triumph here that must be heard to be believed...Tania León is one of the most innovative composers of our time. The rewards attending both of these discs will be ample indeed, and I am delighted to give them a very high recommendation." — David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare Magazine

Tania León's CD, SINGIN' SEPIA, is reviewed in The Journal of the Society for American Music (Vol. 4, No. 4): "The journey that inspired Horizons helped to shape a humanistic philosophy that informs all of León's compositions, in which there are no demarcations of gender or race, and where the contributions of individuals transcend geographical and social boundaries. Her background and environment directly affect her compositional process, and the source-sounds inform and permeate her music without overshadowing its complexity. This unique approach is clearly illustrated by the works presented on Singin' Sepia, a recording that should be of equal interest to those new to León's music and to those who know it well." — James Spinazzola
Click here to order the complete review

New York Times Review of Singin' Sepia at Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music

Boston Globe Review of  Singin' Sepia at Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music

New York Times Review of the ballet Inura performed by Dance Brazil

Speaking of Music: Tania León — Recorded on September 19, 1985 as part of the San Francisco Exploratorium's Speaking of music series.  This audio is part of the collection, Other Minds Archive, released in 2009.

New York Times Review of Alma by Da Capo Chamber Players

Public Radio's Performance Today — Listen to Ácana performed by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Paisanos Semos performed by guitarist Ana Maria Rosado.

New York Times Review of Ácana performed by Orpheus: An Ensemble Finds Unity With a Seasoned Soprano

Listen to the broadcast of New York Premiere of Ácana and interview with composer and host, John Schaefer on WNYC-FM.

Chicago Sun Times Review: Sinfonietta concert honors women

New York Times Review of Singin' Sepia performance

Midwest Airlines feature: "Passing the Baton" — Female conductors are stepping up to the nation's podiums in greater numbers than ever before


An Evening of Music and Dialogue
Tania León — Women in Music Festival
Video highlights of world premiere of Atwood Songs
Interview with Tania León


Tania León receives Guggenheim Fellowship Award 2007 in Music Composition

New York Times Music Review: Earthy Cuban Sounds, Rendered With an Urban Complexity

New York Times review of Tania León Portrait Concert at Columbia University's Miller Theatre

Feature article in Yamaha's "Accent" magazine

Our Journeys/Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement
This bilingual photography exhibition explores the diversity of the Latino experience in the United States through narratives and portraits of Hispanic men and women who have led extraordinary lives in various fields. Our Journeys/Our Stories premiered at the National Museum of American History in February of 2004 and is now traveling throughout the United States. The exhibition is complemented by education outreach materials, and host venues are encouraged to involve their local communities in public programming and educational activities. The exhibition, its national tour and related programs are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. For information contact the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) at 202.633.3110.


Podcasts & Concerts

Works by Tania León on Symphony Space Live: www.symphonyspace.org/live/leon
In this concert, León's compositions and other works are performed by pianist Ursula Oppens and Jade Simmons, as well as the Brasil Guitar Duo. Included works: Ritual, Mistica, Bailarin, Paisanos Semos, Tumbáo, and Satiné


Works on YouTube

Tania León talks about composing Scourge of Hyacinths with inspiration from her childhood. (for CareerGirls.org)

Tania León: "What I Do" (for CareerGirls.org)

'In Motion' - Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble and DanceBrazil Percussion performing Inura; and Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble and Rajoe Darby (narrator) performing Haiku.

Rimas Tropicales

Meridian Arts Ensemble performing Saoko in Timosoara, Romania.

Brief composer portrait of Tania León, filmed by Jeremy Robins for the American Composers Orchestra, at the time of the premiere of Indígena.

Jade Simmons performs Momentum at Harlem Stage's The Gatehouse (PeerMusic)

Jade Simmons performs Rituál at Harlem Stage's The Gatehouse (PeerMusic)

Pianist Adam Kent performing composer Mistica at Saint Peter's Church, Manhattan. (Iroko Music)

Jade Simmons performs Tumbao at Harlem Stage's The Gatehouse (Boosey & Hawkes)



The Sensual Nature of Sound
4 Composers: Laurie Anderson, Tania León, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros
58 minutes, color
Narrated by the composers
Michael Blackwood Productions, Inc.

"The Sensual Nature of Sound" portrays these New York based composer/performers in terms of their musical lives. Although all four women are pioneers in American music, each composer pursues a distinct direction of her own. Since the early 1980s, Laurie Anderson has used music and performance as the foundation for her multi-media stage shows which have since become her trademark. Cuban born Tania Leon composes orchestral music that is an intricate weave of Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz elements embedded within a classical Western concerto format. Meredith Monk experiments with new ideas in music theater and has developed a genre of opera very much her own. Pauline Oliveros draws upon the rich resources of ritual, myth, meditation, and improvisation to create a body of work that is truly visionary. Filmed at rehearsals and performances in the United States and abroad, "The Sensual Nature of Sound" examines the contributions of these diverse composers to contemporary American music.


Composers and their Compositions
Volume One, Ten episodes
Gunther Schuller, Ned Rorem, Fred Lerdahl, Tania León, George Crumb
Conceived, directed and produced by Thomas J. Knott
Dan Hnatio, Director of Photography
Contact: Active Communications