Leo Brouwer

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Leo Brouwer
Leob.jpg
Background information
Birth name Juan Leovigildo Brouwer Mezquida
Born (1939-03-01) March 1, 1939 (age 78)
Havana, Cuba
Genres Classical, folk, aleatoric, atonal
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, conductor
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1967–present
Labels Egrem

Juan Leovigildo Brouwer Mezquida (born March 1, 1939) is a Cuban composer, conductor, and classical guitarist.

He is the grandson of Cuban composer Ernestina Lecuona y Casado,.[1] His great-uncle, Ernesto Lecuona, composed "La Malagueña" and his second cousin, Margarita Lecuona, composed "Babalú", which was popularized by Cuban musician and actor Desi Arnaz.[2]

Music career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Brouwer was born in Havana. When he was 13, he began classical guitar with the encouragement of his father, who was an amateur guitarist. His teacher was Isaac Nicola, who was a student of Emilio Pujol, who was himself a student of Tárrega. When he was 17, he performed publicly for the first time and began composing.[3]

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,[3] 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) being guest composer and lecturer of Academy of Science and Arts of Berlin. In Germany Brouwer also recorded a number of LPs for Deutsche Grammophon.[4][5][6]

Composing and performing[edit]

In his early compositions, Brower remained close to the rhythms of Cuban music, while later he was drawn to aleatoric music. He has written for guitar, piano, and percussion, and has composed orchestral works, ballet, and music for more than one hundred movies. For a guitar competition in Hungary in 1979, he wrote a composition that employed 200 guitarists. He is known for a series of studies called the Etudes Simples.[3] He transcribed Beatles songs for classical guitar and composed music for the movie Like Water for Chocolate.[2]

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. Other works from this period include the guitar pieces Canticum (1968), La espiral eterna (1971), Parábola (1973) and Tarantos (1974). More recently, Brouwer's works have 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.

He has performed and recorded works by Sylvano Bussotti, Hans Werner Henze, Maurice Ohana, Cristóbal Halffter, Leni Alexander, Cornelius Cardew, Heitor Villa-Lobos, etc.[7]

Brouwer's playing career ended in the early 1980s due to an injury to a tendon in his right hand middle finger.[8][9]

Other activities[edit]

He has been a conductor for many symphony orchestras, including the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Cordoba Symphony in Spain.[3]

Brouwer is involved in the Concurso y Festival Internacional de Guitarra de la Habana (International Guitar Festival of the Havana). He travels often to attend guitar festivals throughout the world, and especially to other Latin American countries.[10]

Brouwer is a member of the Communist Party of Cuba. He has held a number of official posts in Cuba, including the Cinema Institute of Cuba's music department.

Brouwer is the great-uncle of Al Jourgensen of Ministry fame. Brouwer is the brother of Al's maternal grandfather. [11]

Selected works[edit]

Works for guitar[edit]

Solo guitar[edit]

  • 1955 Suite No. 1 Antigua
  • 1955 Suite No. 2
  • 1956 Preludio
  • 1957 Danza Característica "Quítate de la Acera"
  • 1956 Dos temas populares cubanos
  • 1956 Piezas sin títulos I–II
  • 1959 Fuga No. 1
  • 1959 Tres Apuntes
  • 1962 Dos aires populares cubanos
  • Guajira criolla
  • Zapateo cubano (Zapateado)
  • 1962 Pieza sin título III
  • 1962 Tres piezas latinoamericanas
  • 1964 Elogio de la Danza
  • 1968 Canticum
  • Eclosion
  • Ditirambo
  • 1968 Un Dia de Noviembre
  • 1971 La Espiral Eterna
  • 1973 Parábola
  • 1973 Estudios Sencillos (Nos. 1–10)
  • 1974 Tarantos
  • 1975 Cadences
  • 1981 El Decamerón Negro (Dedicated to Sharon Isbin)
  • 1981 Preludios Epigramáticos No. 1–6
  • 1984 Variations on a Theme of Django Reinhardt
  • 1986 Paisaje Cubano con Campanas
  • 1990 Sonata (dedicated to Julian Bream)
• Fandangos y boleros
• Sarabanda de Scriabin
• Toccata de Pasquini
  • 1993 Rito de los Orishás
  • 1996 Hika: In Memoriam Toru Takemitsu
  • 1996 Hoja de album
  • 1996 Paisaje Cubano con Tristeza
  • 1999 An Idea (Passacaglia por Eli)
  • 2000 Viaje a la Semilla
  • 2001 Nuevos Estudios Sencillos No. 11–20
  • 2004 La Ciudad De Las Columnas (Variaciones sobre "Pieza sin Título Nº1")
  • 2007 Cantilena de los bosques (dedicated to Roberto Fabbri
  • 2007 Paisaje Cubano con fiesta
  • 2007 Sonata del Caminante (Dedicated to Odair Assad)
  • 2012 Sonata del Decamerón Negro (Dedicated to Kostas Kotsiolis)
  • 2013 Sonata del Pensador (dedicated to Ricardo Gallén)
Guitar duo[edit]
  • 1957–58 Micro piezas I–IV – Hommage à Darius Milhaud
  • 1958 Micropieza V
  • 1958 Tríptico
  • 1973 Per Suonare a Due
  • 1978 Música incidental campesina
  • 2009 Sonata de Los Viajeros
Guitar quartet[edit]
  • Canciones remotas
  • Toccata para cuatro o más guitarras
  • Toccata
  • Paisaje Cubano Con Rumba
  • Paisaje Cubano con lluvia
Guitar & orchestra[edit]
  • 1958 Tres danzas concertantes
  • 1979 Acerca del cielo, el aire y la sonrisa
  • 1983 Retrats Catalans
  • 1985 From Yesterday to Penny Lane
  • 1995 Concierto Omaggio a Paganini (concerto for guitar and violin)

Guitar and string quartet[edit]

  • 1958 Quintet for guitar and string quartet

Guitar concertos[edit]

  • 1972 Concierto num. 1
  • 1981 Concierto num. 2 "de Lieja"
  • 1986 Concierto num. 3 "Elegiaco"
  • 1987 Concierto num. 4 "de Toronto"
  • 1991–92 Concierto num. 5 "de Helsinki"
  • 1997 Concierto num. 6 "de Volos"
  • 1998 Concierto num. 7 "de La Habana"
  • 1999 Concierto num. 8 "Concierto Cantata de Perugia" (for chorus, guitar, and orchestra)
  • 2002 Concierto num. 9 "de Benicassim"
  • 2003 Concierto num. 10 "Book of Signs" (for two guitars)
  • 2007 Concierto num. 11 "de Requiem (In memoriam Toru Takemitsu)"

Other works[edit]

Orchestral[edit]

  • 1964 Sonograma II
  • 1965 Arioso (Homenaje a Charles Mingus), for jazz combo and orchestra
  • 1967 Tropos
  • 1967–69 La tradición se rompe..., pero cuesta trabajo
  • 1970 Exaedros III, for percussionist and 2 orchestral groups
  • 1972 Balada, concierto para flauta y orquesta de cuerdas, for flute and orchestra)
  • 1972 Concierto para violín y orquesta, for violin and orchestra
  • 1972 Controversia (Sonograma IV)
  • 1972 El gran zoo (Guillén), for narrator, horn solo, and orchestra
  • 1964 Sonograma IV, for two orchestral groups
  • 1977 Anima Latina (Madrigali guerrieri ed amorosi)
  • 1979–81 Canción de gesta, for percussion and wind orchestra
  • 1983 La guerra de las galaxias, orchestral suite on themes by John Williams
  • 1984 Canciones remotas, for string orchestra
  • 1992 Wagneriana, for string orchestra
  • 1996 Lamento por Rafael Orozco, for clarinet and string orchestra

Vocal[edit]

  • 1960 Elegía a Jesús Menéndez, for chorus and orchestra
  • 1961 Son Mercedes, for mixed chorus
  • 1964 Canciones Amatorias, for mixed chorus
  • 1969 Cantigas del tiempo nuevo, for children's chorus, actors, and ensemble
  • 1970 Cantos yorubá, for baritone, flute, cello, percussion, and piano
  • 1973 Es el Amor quien ve..., for high voice and ensemble
  • 1975 Cantata de Chile, for male chorus and orchestra

Chamber and solo instrumental[edit]

Piano trios[edit]
  • 1983 Manuscrito antiguo encontrado en una botella
  • 1992 Sonata, sones y danzones
  • 2000–2007 Cuadros de otra exposición
  • 2007 El triángulo de las Bermudas
  • 2011 El Oráculo de Ifá
String quartets[edit]
  • 1961 Cuarteto de cuerdas num. 1 – a la memoria de Bela Bártok
  • 1968 Cuarteto de cuerdas num. 2 – Rem tene verba sequentur
  • 1991–97 Cuarteto de cuerdas num. 3
Other chamber[edit]
  • 1957 Finale, for guitar and string quartet
  • 1957 Homenaje a Manuel de Falla, for flute, oboe, clarinet, and guitar
  • 1959 Dos bocetos, for piano solo
  • 1959 Música, ballet scene for dancer, guitar, piano, and percussion
  • 1960 Fuga cervantina, for piano solo
  • 1960/1994 Sonata para cello solo
  • 1961 Fanfarria de celebración, for flute solo
  • 1962 Variantes, for a percussionist
  • 1963 Sonograma I, for prepared piano
  • 1964 Trio No. 2, for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon
  • 1965 Dos Conceptos del Tiempo, for ensemble
  • 1966 Conmutaciones, for percussion (2 players) and prepared piano
  • 1968 El reino de este mundo, for wind quintet
  • 1968 Epigramas, for violin and piano (or cello and piano)
  • 1969 Exaedros I–II, for 6 instrments or any multiple of 6 instruments
  • 1970 Per suonare a Tre, for flute, viola, and guitar
  • 1970 Sonata piane forte, for piano and tape
  • 1970 Varias maneras de hacer música con papel, for three or four groups of musicians
  • 1972 Basso Continuo I, for clarinet and tape, or 2 clarinets
  • 1972 Ludus metalicus, for saxophone quartet
  • 1974 Metáforas del amor, for guitar and tape
  • 1974 Música para tres pianos, for three pianos
  • 1974 Oda a la alegría, for guitar, piano, and percussion
  • 1982 La región más transparente, for flute and piano
  • 1985 Los negros brujos se divierten, for ensemble
  • 1989 Paisaje cubano con ritual, for bass clarinet and percussion
  • 1990 Divertimento (minuetto mozartiano), for two flutes, timpani, and strings
  • 1997 Paisajes, retratos y mujeres, for flute, viola, and guitar
  • 1999 La Vida Misma, for piano, violin, cello, and percussion
  • 1999 Los pasos perdidos, for double bass and percussion
  • 2009 Mitología de las Aguas (Sonata No. 1 for flute and guitar)

Film scores[edit]

  • 1960: Historias de la revolución
  • 1965: Vaqueros del cauto
  • 1966: Papeles son papeles
  • 1966: La muerte de un burócrata
  • 1967: Las aventuras de Juan Quin Quin
  • 1968: LBJ
  • 1968: Hanoi, martes 13
  • 1968: Memorias del subdesarrollo
  • 1968: Lucía
  • 1969: Despegue a las 18:00
  • 1971: La bataille des dix millions
  • 1972: Una pelea cubana contra los demonios
  • 1973: El extraño caso de Rachel K
  • 1973: El hombre de Maisinicú
  • 1975: Abril de Vietnam en el año del gato
  • 1975: Ustedes tienen la palabra
  • 1976: Un día de noviembre
  • 1976: La cantata de Chile
  • 1976: La última cena
  • 1977: Mi hermano Fidel
  • 1977: Destino manifiesto
  • 1978: Son o no son
  • 1978: El recurso del método
  • 1979: No hay sábado sin sol
  • 1979: The survivors (Los sobrevivientes)
  • 1979: La viuda de Montiel
  • 1980: La guerra necesaria
  • 1982: Una y otra vez
  • 1983: Tiempo de amar
  • 1983: Los refugiados de la cueva del muerto
  • 1983: Alsino y el cóndor
  • 1983: La rosa de los vientos
  • 1983: Cecilia
  • 1983: Hasta cierto punto
  • 1984: La segunda hora de Esteban Zayas
  • 1985: Cuando una mujer no duerme
  • 1985: Wild Dogs (Jíbaro)
  • 1985: Amada – a woman from Havanna
  • 1986: Tiempo de morir
  • 1992: Like Water for Chocolate
  • 1995: Un héroe se hace a patadas
  • 1998: Mátame mucho
  • 2002: Ficción sin ficción
  • 2003: Memorias de Lucía
  • 2004: Lucía y el tiempo
  • 2004: La persistencia de la memoria
  • 2005: Kordavision

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian (1994). The Norton/Grove dictionary of women composers (Digitized online by GoogleBooks). Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Bergeron, Kathleen A. (28 September 2016). "Letter from Havana: Leo Brouwer, the Rolling Stones, and the Cuban Guitar Scene". Classical Guitar. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Whitesel, Tod. "Leo Brouwer | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  4. ^ LP: Hans Werner Henze - El Cimarrón (CD reissue)
  5. ^ LP: Debut - Leo Brouwer, Gitarre (CD reissue of the modern works)
  6. ^ LP: Musique Contemporaine pour guitare (CD reissue)
  7. ^ Rara Recording by Leo Brouwer
  8. ^ Leo Brouwer Artist Profile/Interview
  9. ^ Clive Kronenberg on Leo Brouwer
  10. ^ Brouwer, Leo; Hdez, Hernández; Carmona, Nisleidys Flores (2004). Leo Brouwer: gajes del oficio. 
  11. ^ http://www.wnyc.org/story/309683-ministry-lost-gospels-according-al-jourgensen/
  • Andy Daly, Leo Brouwer. Music Web International, accessed June 9, 2011

Further reading[edit]

Articles[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Leo Brouwer by Isabelle Hernández. (Andante. Editora Musical de Cuba) ISBN 959-7153-01-7
  • Gajes del oficio by Leo Brouwer

Documentaries[edit]

  • Leo Brouwer–Irakere (1978), written and directed by Jose Padron
  • Leo Brouwer (2000), written and directed by Jose Padron

External links[edit]