Brouwer, Leo (1939–)

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Brouwer, Leo (1939–)

Leo Brouwer (b. 1 March 1939), Cuban composer and guitarist. A student of Stefan Wolpe and Vincent Persichetti at the Julliard School of Music, Brouwer also studied at the Hartt College of Music under Isa-dore Freed. He was a music assistant with Radio Havana (1960–1961) and director of the music department at the Institute of the Film Industry and Art (IAIC) in 1960–1962. He taught theory and composition at the National Conservatory in Havana (1961–1967) and in 1969 he became director of the experimental branch of the IAIC. A guitarist of international recognition, he has made many recordings of classical and contemporary music. He has achieved similar success as a composer of orchestral and chamber music and has written music for film and for the theater. Brouwer used conventional styles at the beginning of his career. For example, in the more than fifty compositions he wrote from 1956 to 1962 he used mostly folkloric elements within a nationalistic and rather conventional style. Having had contacts in the 1960s with contemporary composers like Bogu-slaw Schäffer and Henyrk Górecki and also with Luigi Nono and Hans Werner Henze, Brouwer turned toward the avant-garde, chance, and experimental music. He has explored contemporary techniques and is probably among the first Cuban composers to successfully utilize the open forms and aleatoric techniques, frequently including graphic and proportional notation in his scores. He has also collaborated with pop artists and mass-media productions.

Among his more important works are Danzas concertantes for guitar and string orchestra (1958); Variantes for percussion (1962); Sonograma I for prepared piano (1963); Sonograma II for orchestra (1964); 2 Conceptos del tiempo for ten players (1965); Homage to Mingus for jazz combo and orchestra (1965); Tropos for orchestra (1967); Sonograma III for two pianos (1968); 5 Epigrams for cello and piano (1968); Conmutaciones for prepared piano and two percussionists (1966); El reino de esto mundo for woodwind quintet (1968); Rem tene verba sequentur for string quartet (1969); Cantigas del tiempo nuevo for actors, children's choir, piano, harp, and percussion (1969); Exaedros, for six players or multiples of six (1969–1970); Anima Latina (Madrigali guerrieri ed amorosi) for orchestra (1977); and Es el amor quién ve, for voice and chamber ensemble (1972). He has written for guitar Canticum (1972); La espiral eterna (1970); Tarantos (1977); Per sonare a due (1973); and El decamerón negro (1981). In 1992, he oversaw the founding, and is the emeritus director, of the Orquesta de Córdoba in Spain. He is Honoris Causa Professor of Art at the Instituto Superior de Arte de Cuba. He has received the highest honor given by the Cuban state in recognition of cultural achievements, the Orden Félix Varela.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


John Vinton, ed. Dictionary of Contemporary Music (1974); Primero Festival Latinoamericano de Música Contem-porá nea "Ciudad de Maracaibo" (1977), p. 34.

Gérard Béhague, Music in Latin America: An Introduction (1979); New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Brouwer, Leo. Gajes del oficio. Havana: Letras Cubanas, 2004.

Hdez (Hernández), Isabelle. Leo Brouwer. Havana: Editora Musical de Cuba, 2000.

Reiss, Timothy J., ed. Music, Writing, and Cultural Unity in the Caribbean. Trenton, NJ: Africa World, 2005.

                                           Alcides Lanza

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Brouwer, Leo (1939–)

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