Tania León’s “Stride” wins Pulitzer Prize in Music

Posted on: June 14, 2021

Tania Léon delivers the keynote address at the closing plenary session of the League of American Orchestras’ 2019 National Conference in Nashville. Photo by Alan Poizner

“In February 2020, the New York Philharmonic premiered Tania León’s ‘Stride’ … as part of its Project 19 initiative, for which it commissioned 19 female composers to honor the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which barred the states from denying women the right to vote,” writes Zachary Woolfe in Friday’s (6/11) New York Times. “On Friday ‘Stride’ was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music. It is a culminating honor in the career of a composer, now 78, who grew up in Cuba; found a footing writing percussive dance works …; created a series of memorable orchestral pieces shot through with intricate Latin rhythmic grooves; and became an outspoken advocate for cultural diversity in music…. Inspired by the courage of the women in her family, and by the suffragist Susan B. Anthony, the 15-minute ‘Stride’ isn’t purely optimistic…. A West African beat shuffles underneath—a reminder that Black women were initially excluded from the right that was granted by the 19th Amendment…. ‘The biggest prize of my life is that I’ve been able to manifest a dream that started in a very small place, far from here, with people who are not here anymore,’ [Léon] said. ‘That, for me, is what “Stride” is about: moving forward.’ ”