Cuban Composer Awarded 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Music

Tania León received the accolade for her orchestral piece, "Stride," which was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and marks the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

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(Photo credit: Jordan Strauss)

"Stride," the piece that garnered Tania León the Pulitzer Prize for Music, was composed for "Project 19" — a commissioning program where 19 female composers are selected to write music celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment.

The piece received its world premiere by the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center on February 13, 2020.

The award grants León a grand prize of $15,000. The jury comprised John V. Brown, Regina Carter, Ellen Reid, John Schaefer, and Christopher J. Washburne.

León is currently vice president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Music Division, the founder and artistic director of Composers Now, and is on the board of directors for the MacDowell Colony and the New York Philharmonic.

"Tania León has made it her life’s work to create and encourage profound, striking music that, significantly, places diversity at center stage," said Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Chancellor of The City University of New York.

"Our heartfelt congratulations to Professor León, whose dedication to what she calls 'the canvas of sounds in the Americas' was vividly captured in her Pulitzer-winning piece, commissioned in celebration of women’s voting rights, as it incorporates Black music traditions from the United States and the Caribbean."

A rehearsal for "Stride" can be seen here.