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TANIA LEÓN WINS THE PULITZER PRIZE
Tania León, the 78-year-old Cuban-born composer, won the Pulitzer Prize in Music on Friday for her orchestral work Stride. The Pulitzer jury described the 15-minute piece as a "musical journey full of surprise, with powerful brass and rhythmic motifs that incorporate Black music traditions from the U.S. and the Caribbean into a Western orchestral fabric." The two other finalists were Place, by Ted Hearne and Data Lordsby Maria Schneider, both recordings.
Stride received its world premiere by the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center Feb. 13, 2020. The music was born out of Project 19, an ambitious commissioning program where 19 women composers were chosen to write music to mark the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. León's inspiration was Susan B. Anthony, the women's rights activist and a prominent leader in the suffrage movement.
Reached by telephone Friday afternoon at her home in Nyack, N.Y., León said she was the first musician in her poor Havana family. Her success was a dream of her mother and, especially, her grandmother, who suspected that she was interested in music. "They created a dream and I grabbed the dream and went into the world, and here I am," León said.
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