Composer and conductor
Born: Havana, Cuba
acclaimed composer and conductor Tania León
is a founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Her compositions
have been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and
the Koussevitzky Foundation, among many others.
had to travel. I hadn't even ‘been to the corner,'
as they say in Cuba. I used to sit at the Malecón
and look towards the horizon, wondering what
1967, León's curiosity took her from Cuba to the United
States. Two years after arriving in New York she became the
first music director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Since
then, her career has encompassed commissioned works, premieres,
and recordings. In 1998, León, a professor at Brooklyn
College for nearly two decades, was awarded the New York Governor's
Lifetime Achievement Award.
going on stage, I think of my mother. I also speak with family
members who have passed away, like Dad and Grandma. I tell
them, ‘This is going to be challenging. Help me.' The memory
of what they sacrificed for my education sustains me and
helps me overcome my fears.”