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Brooklyn College Announces Inaugural Tania León Chair of Music

Malcolm J. Merriweather will step into the position in the fall of 2024

Brooklyn College, and its School of Visual Media and Performing Arts (SVMPA), announced their first-ever endowed chair in music. The Tania León Chair of Music was funded by The Tow Foundation and named in honor of León, who has been a major figure at Brooklyn College since 1985. She became the Tow Distinguished Professor at Brooklyn College in 2000 and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2019.

The inaugural Tania León Chair of Music will be held by conductor and educator Malcolm J. Merriweather. He has taught at the College since 2015 and will assume the chair position in Fall 2024. The endowment will support his teaching, research, and mentorship to nurture diverse talent.

The Chair honors León's illustrious career — including a 2021 Pulitzer Prize in music, a Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime artistic achievements, and the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition from Northwestern University. She currently serves as an honorary chair for the Recording Academy’s Songwriters & Composers Wing, a member of the Board of Directors for the New York Philharmonic and ASCAP Foundation, Composer-in-Residence for the London Philharmonic Orchestra for their 2023-25 seasons, and Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair for its 2023-2024 season.

"It is a great honor to have the first ever chair in music at Brooklyn College endowed in my name," said León. "This extraordinary school has been both a haven and an inspiration for me for over thirty years, and it offers the best of what music and the arts can be: powerful, relevant, innovative, and reflective of the diversity of our great city. It gives me tremendous hope for the future to know that this position will help support singular talents like Malcolm J. Merriweather, in both their teaching and their creative pursuits."

Malcolm J. Merriweather currently serves as Director of the New York Philharmonic Chorus and Music Director of The Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra. His world premiere recordings have been nominated for a GRAMMY Award. He was the founding Artistic Director of “Voices of Haiti,” a 60-member children’s choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, operated by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.

"I am honored beyond words to be named as the inaugural Tania León Chair of Music," said Merriweather. "Tania is a gift, both for her singular music-making and her irrepressibly joyful presence, and her unwavering commitment to mentoring the next generation of talent. I look forward to building upon the extraordinary example she has set, and using this opportunity to develop new ways to guide and support the musical voices of the future."

 

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