Born in Havana, Cuba, but a resident of New York City since 1967, Tania León has composed extensively for orchestra, ensemble and solo instruments and vocal, ballet, opera and theatre. Her works have been commissioned by dozens of individuals and institutions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lincoln Center Institute, the Whitney Museum and the Library of Congress. She has been nominated for a Grammy Award and a Pulitzer Prize, has won a Guggenheim Fellowship and numerous other international awards, and in 2010 was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 1969, León co-founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem as its first musical director. She was new music adviser to the New York Philharmonic from 1993-1997, and in 2010 co-founded Composers Now, a citywide festival in New York celebrating living composers in a variety of genres. The fifth installment of the festival, of which León is artistic director, begins Feb. 1 and continues through the end of the month.
León has been a visiting professor or lecturer at institutions including Harvard University, Yale University, the Musikschule in Hamburg, Germany, and in 2012 was the Andrew Mellon Foundation's Distinguished Scholar at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a Distinguished Professor at City University of New York and has taught at Brooklyn College since 1985.