Bienen awards Tania León the Nemmers Prize in Music Composition


Photo courtesy of Northwestern Now

Tania León will be conducting two year-long residencies at Northwestern, starting in Winter Quarter 2024.

Fiona Roach, Assistant Campus Editor

Composer and conductor Tania León was awarded the $100,000 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition for her achievements and influence in classical composition, the University announced Tuesday. 

León will lead two consecutive year-long residencies at the Bienen School of Music, starting Winter Quarter 2024. She will perform her music, teach lessons and seminars to composition students and host coaching sessions. 

“I am delighted and deeply honored to receive the Nemmers Prize in Music,” León said in a University press release. “I look forward to working with, and getting to know, the excellent students, faculty and ensembles of the Northwestern Bienen School of Music over the next two years.”

León was also awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her orchestral work, “Stride.” She holds honorary doctorate degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin College and Conservatory, SUNY Purchase College and the Curtis Institute of Music.

Bienen Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery, who first met León at the 1990 National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, said awarding León the prize is a “personal highlight” in her time at NU.

“I have long been an admirer of Ms. León’s compositions as well as her impressive and varied career,” Montgomery said in the release. “Bienen School students and faculty will benefit immensely from her inspiring presence on campus over the next two years.”

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