London Philharmonic Orchestra Announces Next Composer-in-Residence
Cuban-American composer Tania León will assume the role as of September 2023 for two consecutive seasons
Tania León will succeed the current London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) Composer-in-Residence, Brett Dean. She will also serve as the next Composer Mentor for the LPO Young Composers program, which supports emerging orchestral composers.
León will be involved in the selection of the program’s composers, writing of the program brief, one-to-one and group sessions, plus giving feedback in a mid-year workshop. She will also conduct the final Debut Sounds concert of the program in June 2024.
In 2022, she was a Kennedy Center Honoree for her contribution to American culture, and in 2021, won the Pulitzer Prize for her composition Stride. The latter was part of the New York Philharmonic’s “Project 19,” featuring commissions by female composers to honor the centenary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920. The LPO will give the UK premiere of Stride on March 31, 2023.
León arrived in the US from Cuba in 1967. As a pianist, she had already won three major competitions and earned degrees from the Carlos Alfredo Peyrellade Conservatory in piano and music theory. She later studied at the New York College of Music.
In 1968, when stepping in as a pianist for a ballet class, León was appointed as resident composer and music director of Dance Theatre of Harlem — a new studio formed by dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell, the first soloist of color with the New York City Ballet, who was giving the class.
Between 1993 and 1997, she was New Music Advisor to Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, and from 1994 to 2001, was the Latin American music advisor for the American Composers Orchestra. In 2010, she became the founder and artistic director of Composers Now, an organization empowering living composers and celebrating their diverse voices.
“I am delighted to have been appointed the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s next Composer-in-Residence,” León said. “Over the two years, I will be able to really get to know the Orchestra and the personalities of each player; to write specifically for this group of talented musicians will be a joy.
“I am also really looking forward to mentoring the LPO Young Composers and I would strongly encourage anyone thinking about applying to go for it,” she continued. “It is so important that mentoring is available to young artists and I’m so glad I can play a small part in developing the next generation.”
Applications for the 2023/24 LPO Young Composers cohort are now open and will close on Friday, March 10. More details of León’s 2023/24 LPO programs will be revealed in the Spring with LPO’s season announcement.
Founded by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1932, the LPO performs worldwide and is featured on various streaming and social media platforms, and through their broadcast partnership with Marquee TV. With its own recording label, the LPO is streamed over 15 million times each month internationally. Its current principal guest conductor is Karina Canellakis.