Tania Leon’s Stride

A Polyrhythmic Life
Author: Alejandro L. Madrid
A new biography of the classical music artist
Cloth – $110
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/18/2022
Cloth: 01/18/2022
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About the Book

Acclaimed composer, sought-after conductor, esteemed educator, tireless advocate for the arts--Tania Leon’s achievements encompass but also stretch far beyond contemporary classical music. Alejandro L. Madrid draws on oral history, archival work, and ethnography to offer the first in-depth biography of the artist. Breaking from a chronological account, Madrid looks at Leon through the issues that have informed and defined moments in her life and her professional works. Leon’s words become a starting ground--but also a counterpoint--to the accounts of the people in her orbit. What emerges is more than an extraordinary portrait of an artist's journey. It is a story of how a human being reacts to the challenges thrown at her by history itself, be it the Cuban revolution or the struggle for civil and individual rights.

Nuanced and multifaceted, Tania Leon's Stride looks at the life, legacy, and milieu that created and sustained one of the most important figures in American classical music.

* Publication supported by a commission from Brandon Fradd and The Newburgh Institute for the Arts and Ideas, and by a grant from the General Fund of the American Musicological Society, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About the Author

Alejandro L. Madrid is a professor of musicology at Cornell University. He is the author of the award-winning In Search of Julián Carrillo and Sonido 13 and coauthor of Danzon: Circum-Caribbean Dialogues in Music and Dance.


"Highly recommended." --Choice


"There is incredible beauty and power in the way this book attends to aesthetics and artists with rigor and care. What sets it apart are Madrid's stunning interviews conducted over several years with Leon and her family, peers, and students. An essential document about an extraordinary artist."--Alexandra T. Vazquez, author of Listening in Detail: Performances of Cuban Music

"Alejandro L. Madrid is one of the leading musicologists of our time working on contemporary classical and experimental music, and his wide-ranging narrative on the life and works of the composer, pianist, and conductor Tania Leon perfectly matches her cosmopolitan outlook and incisive creative practice. Leon knew and worked with many of the leading cultural figures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and Madrid’s intricate 'contrapuntal' dialogue with his subject shows in exquisite detail how and why Tania Leon has exercised an incalculable impact on the expressive culture of our time."--George E. Lewis, author of A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music


•  Bronze Medal, Best Biography in English, International Latin Book Awards, 2022