The Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University in New York has announced that it will acquire the archives of Tania León, the noted composer, conductor, and educator. Her orchestral work Stride, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic in celebration of the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
A native of Havana, León left Cuba in 1967 and settled in New York. She found work at the Harlem School of the Arts as a substitute pianist for dance classes and later became the music director of the Dance Theater of Harlem. She has been visiting professor at Yale University, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of Kansas, Purchase College, and the Musikschule in Hamburg, Germany, among others.
Alejandro L. Madrid, who has written her biography Tania León’s Stride, A Polyrhythmic Life (University of Illinois Press, 2022), writes: “I have no doubt that Tania León is one of the most important and accomplished composers of her generation. Her music has influenced several cohorts of composers in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, while also serving as a bridge to positively acknowledge and accept the music and culture from Latinx composers as a serious interlocutor in European and American concert halls. At the same time, her advocacy and commitment to the advancement of marginalized communities of people of color has led to her pioneering work as a musical activist.”