A belated New York Philharmonic premiere for Tania León

Posted on: February 12, 2020

“Composer Tania León served as the New York Philharmonic’s new-music adviser in the mid-1990s … but the orchestra … never actually played her music,” writes William Robin in Friday’s (2/7) New York Times. “This week she finally arrives at the Philharmonic, with the premiere of her work ‘Stride.’ … The premiere is part of Project 19, a multiseason initiative in honor of the centenary of the 19th Amendment.” León, a native of Cuba who settled in the U.S., “honed her voice in large-scale, percussive dance works that dabbled in the serial techniques in vogue in the 1970s.… A series of probing works followed through the 1980s and ’90s: ‘Batá,’ with its eerie evocations of [Cuba’s] Yoruba rituals… ‘Indígena,’ in which trumpet fanfares herald riotous explosions of orchestral color….’Stride’ … is inspired by two women: the suffragist Susan B. Anthony and the grandmother who was a major presence in Ms. León’s life… ‘Stride’ … is both solemn and celebratory…. As two percussionists symbolically ring 19 tubular bells, a third plays a rhythmic pattern based on a clave from West Africa. ‘That is the symbol of the people of color,’ Ms. León said.”