Leo Brouwer (b. 1939 Cuba)
Born in Havana in 1939, Leo Brouwer is one of the world’s more important living composers. At a time in which contemporary classical composers have had a hard time connecting with large audiences, Brouwer’s work, especially his prolific writing for the guitar, has become immensely popular. There is no major guitar player (Julian Bream, John Williams, Eduardo Fernández, Manuel Barrueco, Narciso Yepes, etc.) that does not or did not play some of his nine guitar concerti, or pieces such as his sonatas, the Decamerón Negro, Canticum, La Espiral Eterna or so many others. Himself, a formidable guitar virtuoso, Brouwer stopped performing after a car accident affected his left hand. After that, he dedicated more time to conducting, becoming the principal conductor for the Orquesta Sinfónica de Córdoba, Spain. And guest conducting with several first rate orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic and several other major European orchestras. Due to the longstanding political problems with the US and Cuba, Leo Brouwer is not as well known in the US as he is in the rest of the world.
Brouwer’s music shows a wide variety of techniques, influences and styles. Often he uses the rhythms and melodies of the Afro-Cuban musical traditions, but he also works with the most abstract procedures of modern music, writing variations on themes by The Beatles and Django Reinhardt or composing the music for a movies such as “Water for Chocolate”, or composes the most romantic passages of the 21st century.
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