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Leo Brouwer

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Leo Brouwer


Leo Brouwer (b. 1 March 1939, Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban composer, guitarist and conductor.

As a child, Brouwer received his initial stimulus from his father, a physician, who was an aficionado of Villa-Lobos, Tárrega and Granados. He initiated his son by encouraging him to play these composers' works, mostly by ear. Young Brouwer received his first formal guitar instruction from the noted Cuban guitarist and pedagogue Isaac Nicola, in turn a disciple of Emilio Pujol. Afterwards, Brouwer went to the United States to study music at the Hartt College of Music of the University of Hartford, and later at the Juilliard School, where he studied under Vincent Persichetti and took composition classes with Stefan Wolpe.

In 1970 Brouwer played in the premiere of El Cimarrón by Hans Werner Henze in Berlin. Together with Morton Feldman, he was awarded a 1972 scholarship by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) to be guest composer and lecturer of Academy of Science and Arts of Berlin. In Germany Brouwer also recorded a number of LPs for Deutsche Grammophon.

Brouwer's playing career ended in the early 1980s due to an injury to a tendon in his right hand middle finger.

Brouwer's early works show the influence of Cuban folk music, but during the 1960s and '70s, he became interested in the music of modernist composers such as Luigi Nono and Iannis Xenakis, using indeterminacy in works such as Sonograma I. Later, Brouwer's works started leaning towards tonality and modality. The solo guitar works El Decamerón Negro (1981) the Sonata (1990; for Julian Bream) and Paisaje Cubano con Campanas (1986) exemplify this tendency.

Among his works are over forty film scores. Leo Brouwer was involved in the "Concurso y Festival Internacional de Guitarra de la Habana" (International Guitar Festival of the Havana). He traveled often to attend guitar festivals throughout the world, and especially to other Latin American countries.

Brouwer is best known for his performances and compositions of modern music. He has performed and recorded works by Sylvano Bussotti, Hans Werner Henze, Maurice Ohana, Cristóbal Halffter, Leni Alexander, Cornelius Cardew, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and others.

Works for Winds