Tania León has been awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for music for her orchestral work “Stride,” introduced in February 2020 by the New York Philharmonic. “Stride” is described by the Pulitzer judges as “a musical journey full of surprise, with powerful brass and rhythmic motifs that incorporate Black music traditions from the US and the Caribbean into a Western orchestral fabric.”
León, a 78-year-old, Cuban-born composer who in 1969 became the first music director of the Dance Theater of Harlem, has served as an advisor on new music for the New York Philharmonic and Latin American music advisor for the American Composers Orchestra. She has composed works in media ranging from opera to jazz and indigenous percussion ensembles. She has taught at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York since 2000, and also is on the faculty of CUNY’s Graduate Center in Manhattan.
A 1999 interview of León by Frank J. Oteri, published on the website NewMusicBox: