On 25 October the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Karina Canellakis give the UK premiere of Tania León’s Horizons, who was announced earlier this year as LPO Composer-in-Residence for two years, succeeding Brett Dean. Two new works from León will feature each season.
Horizons is built from repetitive melodic cells and unstable, asymmetrical rhythmic gestures, which sit on top of thicker, striated textures. It begins with bright ripples in the flute. As it unfolds events leap to the foreground to interrupt the flow of background textures, like currents beneath the surface. Listen to Horizons here.
"Rather than being in a fixed form” León says, “Horizons is more like a stream that widens and narrows unpredictably, following a winding course." It also reflects the many musical tributaries that converge in León’s music – the piano often performs clave-like figures, and the harp writing is reminiscent of Latin American musical traditions. Venezuelan maracas also feature among the percussion.
The 9½-minute piece was written for the NDR Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg, premiered at the July 1999 Hammoniale Festival, with Peter Ruzicka conducting. It received its U.S. premiere at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 2000 with Stefan Asbury; León herself conducted the work with the Orchestre Symphonique de Nancy in March 2002.
In March 2023 the LPO and Dima Slobodeniouk gave the UK premiere of León’s Stride (2020), written in memory of Susan B. Anthony. It was composed as part of “Project 19,” the New York Philharmonic’s multi-season initiative celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment; watch the NY Phil rehearsing the 15-minute piece here.
Following the 2021 Pulitzer for Stride, the Cuban-American composer and conductor has been recently honoured with several major awards. In December 2022 León received a prestigious Kennedy Center Honor, and this year was also announced as winner of the 2023 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition.
(Faber Music Ltd is the hire agent for Tania León's publisher, Peermusic Classical.)