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Leo Brouwer

Leo Brouwer (Havana, 1939)


Cuban-born composer, orchestral conductor, guitarist, researcher, pedagogue, and cultural promoter, Leo Brouwer is among the most recognized figures of our times. 


Brouwer’s artistic output speaks for itself with a discography of his music that exceeds 850 records and a catalog of more than 350 works that cover almost all genres and musical forms. Between 2015 and 2017 he composed works requested by institutions such as Adelaide Guitar Festival, Changsha International Guitar Festival, Japan Guitar Ensemble Festival, Guitar Foundation of America (GFA), and Camerata Argentina de Guitarras. He has composed and dedicated works to renowned musicians such as Julian Bream, John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma, Carlos Prieto, Edin Karamazov, Andreas Scholl, Egberto Gismonti, Chucho Valdés, EOS Guitar Quartet, Ricardo Gallén, Pedro Chamorro, Costas Cotsiolis, Bandini Duo -Chiacchiaretta and Niurka González. 


In December 2008, the biennial International Violão Leo Brouwer Festival was created in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Leo Brouwer Chamber Music Festival in Havana was held annually (2009-2014) which he produced and directed. Brouwer has also produced the Les Voix Humaines Festival (Sept-Oct 2015), the Solidarity Concerts in 2016 and the Festival Contratenores del Mundo (Sept-Oct 2016) in Havana. Several groups and festivals are named after him, such as: Brouwer Guitar Quartet of the United States; B3: Brouwer Trio of Valencia, Spain; and the Young Philharmonic Leo Brouwer based out of Cordoba, and comprising musicians from various regions of Spain. 


Since April 2005, he has served as president of the Leo Brouwer Office, based in Havana, and his own Ediciones Espiral Eterna publishing house.  He is the Past President of the International Guitar Competition and Festival of Havana (1982-2004), and Former General Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba (1981-2003), Regular Director of the Orchestra of Córdoba, Spain (1992-2001), and Artistic Director of the Carrefour Mondial de la Guitare (Martinique, 1976-2001). Founder and director of the Sound Experimentation Group of the ICAIC (1968). In 1960 he was appointed director of the first music department of the Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC), and the Teatro Musical de La Habana (1962). 


Has appeared as Guest Composer at the The Akademie der Künste (Berlin Academy of Arts, DAAD, 1970), and beyond his compositional output, Brouwer has conducted more than one hundred and twenty symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles from around the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Scottish National Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra Nouvelle Philharmonic de Paris, and the Symphonic Orchestra of Madrid to name a few. He has adjudicated numerous international guitar, composition and orchestral conducting competitions.


Maestro Brouwer has more than three hundred international artistic and academic distinctions, among them; the "Manuel de Falla" Prize (Andalusia, Spain, 1998); the Doctor Honoris Causa Degree at the University of the Arts (ISA) in Havana and at the University of Santiago de Chile; the MIDEM Classical Awards (Cannes, 2003) for his Concerto de Helsinki for guitar and orchestra; the Pablo Neruda Order (Santiago de Chile, 2007), the Goffredo Petrassi Award for Composition (Zagarolo, 2008), the National Music Award in its first edition (Cuba, 1999); the National Film Prize (Cuba, 2009); the Tomás Luis de Victoria Ibero-American Music Prize (SGAE, Spain, 2010) and two Latin Grammy Awards (in 2010, for the complete string quartets and in 2017 with his work Sonata del Decamerón Negro, No. 3 for guitar).


Brouwer is currently an honorary member of the CIM of UNESCO, the Italo-Latin American Institute, the Society of Composers and Authors of Italy, the Academy of Fine Arts of Granada, the Royal Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts of Córdoba, and full member of the Cuban Academy of Language, among other prestigious international institutions. 

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