Born in Havana, Cuba, Tania León is highly regarded as a composer, conductor, educator, and advisor to arts organizations. She is a recipient of the 2022 Kennedy Center Honors, along with fellow honorees George Clooney, Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, and U2. Her orchestral work Stride, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Appearances as guest conductor include Philharmonic Orchestra of Marseille, Gewandhausorchester, Orquesta Sinfonica de Guanajuato, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuba.
Recent premieres include works for Los Angeles Philharmonic, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Grossman Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Jennifer Koh's project, Alone Together. Appearances as guest conductor include Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Gewandhausorchester, Orquesta Sinfónica de Guanajuato, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuba, among others. Upcoming commissions feature works for the NewMusic USA Amplifying Voices Program, the League of American Orchestras, The Musical Fund Society in Philadelphia to celebrate their 200th anniversary, and Claire Chase, flute, and The Crossing Choir with text by Rita Dove.
A founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, León instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series, co-founded the American Composers Orchestra's Sonidos de las Américas Festivals, and was New Music Advisor to the New York Philharmonic.
Honors include the New York Governor's Lifetime Achievement, awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the ASCAP Victor Herbert Award, among others. She also received a proclamation for Composers Now by New York City Mayor, and the MadWoman Festival Award in Music (Spain). León has received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin, SUNY Purchase College and The Curtis Institute, and served as U.S. Artistic Ambassador of American Culture in Madrid, Spain. A CUNY Professor Emerita, she was awarded a 2018 United States Artists Fellowship.