Born in Havana, Cuba, Tania León is highly regarded as a composer and conductor, and recognized for her accomplishments as an educator and advisor to arts organizations. A longtime resident of New York, she has played important roles at its institutions, such as the Dance Theater of Harlem, Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra and its Sonidos de las Américas festivals, and the New York Philharmonic, which she served as New Music Advisor.
Ms. León is the founder and artistic director of Composers Now, a nonprofit in New York City that celebrates the diversity of composers in the city and honors their contributions to the cultural fabric of society. A professor at Brooklyn College since 1985 and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), she was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus of CUNY in 2006.
Her recent commissions include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and Ursula Oppens with the Cassatt Quartet. Ms. León is at work on her second opera, The Little Rock Nine, to a libretto by Thulani Davis, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., serving as historical consultant; the opera was commissioned by the University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts and Communication. Her first opera, Scourge of Hyacinths, based on a play by Wole Soyinka with staging and design by Robert Wilson, received more than 20 performances in France, Switzerland, and Mexico.
Tania León has received Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. She has appeared as guest conductor throughout the US and on all continents of the world. Her honors include induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; recognition from the Fromm, Koussevitzky, and Guggenheim foundations; the ASCAP Victor Herbert Award; and a 2018 United States Artists Fellowship.