Leo Brouwer
Juan Leovigildo Brouwer Mezquida (born March 1, 1939 in Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

) is a Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, conductor
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 and guitarist
Classical guitar
The classical guitar is a 6-stringed plucked string instrument from the family of instruments called chordophones...

. He is the grandson of Cuban composer Ernestina Lecuona Casado
Ernestina Lecuona Casado
Ernestina Lecuona y Casado was a Cuban pianist, music educator and composer.-Life:Ernestina Lecuona y Casado was born in Matanzas into a musical family. Her brother was pianist and composer Ernesto Lecuona and Leo Brouwer was her grandson...



As a child, Brouwer received his initial stimulus from his father, a physician, who was an aficionado of Villa-Lobos
Heitor Villa-Lobos
Heitor Villa-Lobos was a Brazilian composer, described as "the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music". Villa-Lobos has become the best-known and most significant Latin American composer to date. He wrote numerous orchestral, chamber, instrumental and vocal works...

, Tárrega
Francisco Tárrega
Francisco de Asís Tárrega y Eixea was an influential Spanish composer and guitarist of the Romantic period.-Biography:Tárrega was born on 21 November 1852, in Vila-real, Castelló, Spain...

 and Granados
Enrique Granados
Enrique Granados y Campiña was a Spanish pianist and composer of classical music. His music is in a uniquely Spanish style and, as such, representative of musical nationalism...

. He initiated his son 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
Isaac Nicola
Isaac Noel Nicola Romero was a Cuban guitarist and pedagogue.He studied in Paris with Emilio Pujol, in 1939.-Publications:*Método de Guitarra *Isaac Nicola: Maestro de Maestros by -External links:...

, in turn a disciple of Emilio Pujol
Emilio Pujol
Emili Pujol Vilarrubí was a composer and the leading twentieth century musicologist and classical guitar teacher.- Biography :...

Afterwards, Brouwer went to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to study music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 at the Hartt College of Music of the University of Hartford
University of Hartford
The University of Hartford is a private, independent, nonsectarian, coeducational university located in West Hartford, Connecticut. The degree programs at the University of Hartford hold the highest levels of accreditation available in the US, including the Engineering Accreditation Commission of...

, and later at the Juilliard School
Juilliard School
The Juilliard School, located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, United States, is a performing arts conservatory which was established in 1905...

, where he studied under Vincent Persichetti
Vincent Persichetti
Vincent Ludwig Persichetti was an American composer, teacher, and pianist. An important musical educator and writer, Persichetti was a native of Philadelphia...

 and took composition classes with Stefan Wolpe
Stefan Wolpe
Stefan Wolpe was a German-born composer.-Life:Wolpe was born in Berlin. He attended the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory from the age of fourteen, and the Berlin Hochschule für Musik in 1920-1921. He studied composition under Franz Schreker and was also a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni...


In 1970 Brouwer played in the premiere of El Cimarrón by Hans Werner Henze in Berlin. Together with Morton Feldman
Morton Feldman
Morton Feldman was an American composer, born in New York City.A major figure in 20th century music, Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers also including John Cage, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown...

, 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
Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...


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
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 composers such as Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music and remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.- Early years :Born in Venice, he was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter...

 and Iannis Xenakis
Iannis Xenakis
Iannis Xenakis was a Romanian-born Greek ethnic, naturalized French composer, music theorist, and architect-engineer. He is commonly recognized as one of the most important post-war avant-garde composers...

, using indeterminacy
Aleatoric music
Aleatoric music is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work's realization is left to the determination of its performer...

 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
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

 and modality
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

. The solo guitar works El Decamerón Negro (1981) the Sonata (1990; for Julian Bream
Julian Bream
Julian Bream, CBE is an English classical guitarist and lutenist and is one of the most distinguished classical guitarists of the 20th century. He has also been successful in renewing popular interest in the Renaissance lute....

) and Paisaje cubano con campanas (1986) exemplify this tendency.

Among his works are a large number of solo guitar pieces, several guitar concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

s and over forty film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 scores. Leo 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 festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s throughout the world, and especially to other Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n countries.

Modern music

Brouwer is best known for his performances and compositions of modern music. He has performed and recorded works by Sylvano Bussotti
Sylvano Bussotti
Sylvano Bussotti is an Italian composer of contemporary music whose work is unusually notated and often creates special problems of interpretation.Born in Florence, Bussotti learned to play the violin as a child, becoming a prodigy...

, Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze is a German composer of prodigious output best known for "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life"...

, Maurice Ohana
Maurice Ohana
Maurice Ohana was an Anglo-French composer of Sephardic Jewish origin.Ohana was born in Casablanca, Morocco. He was a British citizen until 1976, as his father had been born in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. He originally studied architecture, but abandoned this in favour of a...

, Cristóbal Halffter
Cristóbal Halffter
Cristóbal Halffter Jiménez-Encina is a Spanish composer. He is the nephew of two other composers, Rodolfo and Ernesto Halffter.-Life:...

, Cornelius Cardew
Cornelius Cardew
Cornelius Cardew was an English experimental music composer, and founder of the Scratch Orchestra, an experimental performing ensemble. He later rejected the avant-garde in favour of a politically motivated "people's liberation music".-Biography:Cardew was born in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire...

, Heitor Villa-Lobos
Heitor Villa-Lobos
Heitor Villa-Lobos was a Brazilian composer, described as "the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music". Villa-Lobos has become the best-known and most significant Latin American composer to date. He wrote numerous orchestral, chamber, instrumental and vocal works...

, etc.

Functionary and Communist Party Member

Brouwer has held a number of official posts in Cuba, including the directorship of the Cinema Institute of Cuba's music department.

Solo Guitar

  • 1955 Suite No. 1 Antigua
  • 1955 Suite No. 2
  • 1956 Preludio
  • 1957 Danza Característica "Quítate de la Acera"
  • 1959 Fuga No. 1
  • 1959 Tres Apuntes
  • 1964 Danza del Altiplano
  • 1964 Elogio de la Danza
  • 1968 Canticum
  • 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
  • 1981 Preludios Epigramáticos No. 1-6
  • 1984 Variations on a Theme of Django Reinhardt
  • 1986 Paisaje Cubano con Campanas
  • 1990 Sonata
• 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 Paisaje Cubano con fiesta
  • Canción Triste
  • Cantilena de los bosques dedicata a Roberto Fabbri
  • Dos aires populares cubanos
  • Guajira criolla
  • Zapateado
  • Piezas sin títulos No. 1-3
  • Variations on a Piazzolla Tango
  • Dos Temas populares cubanos
• Drume negrita, cancion de cuna (Berceuse)
• Ojos Brujos

Guitar Duo
  • 1957-1958 Micropiezas Hommage à Darius Milhaud
  • 1958 Micropiezas No.5
  • 1964 Música incidental campesina, (music for Theaterplay El fantasma)
  • Per Suonare a Due
  • Triptoco

Guitar Quartet
  • Canciones remotas
  • Toccata para cuatro o más guitarras
  • Toccata
  • Paisaje Cubano Con Rumba
  • Paisaje Cubano con lluvia

Guitar Orchestra
  • 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 Concertos / Concierto para Guitarra

  • 19?? Concierto p.g. No. 1
  • 1981 Concierto p.g. No. 2 de Lieja
  • 1986 Concierto p.g. No. 3 Elegiaco
  • 1987 Concierto p.g. No. 4 de Toronto
  • 1991 Concierto p.g. No. 5 de Helsinki
  • 1997 Concierto p.g. No. 6 de Volos
  • 1998 Concierto p.g. No. 7 "La Habana"
  • 1999 Concierto p.g. No. 8 "Concierto Cantata de Perugia"
  • 2002 Concierto p.g. No. 9 "de Benicassim"
  • 2003 Concierto p.g. No. 10 "Book of Signs" (concerto for two guitars)
  • 2007 Concierto p.g. No. 11 "de Requim (In memoriam Toru Takemitsu)"

Solo Instruments

  • 1960 Sonata para cello solo
  • 1962 Variantes para un percusionista
  • 1970 "Sonata 'pian e forte' " for Roger Woodward

String Quartets
  • 1961 Cuarteto de cuerdas No. 1, a la memoria de Bela Bártok
  • Cuarteto de cuerdas No. 2
  • Cuarteto de cuerdas No. 3
  • Demeter Prelude

Other Chamber Music
  • 1970 Sonata piane forte for Piano and recorded tape
  • 1970 Per suonare a Tre (flute, alto, and guitar
  • 1983 Manuscrito antiguo encontrado en una botella for pianotrio
  • Balada for Flute and Strings
  • Canción de Gesta (para orquesta de cámara)
  • Sonate pour Cor et Piano
  • Pictures of Another Exhibition (violin, choir, and piano)
  • La Region Mas Transparente (flute and piano)
  • Basso Continuo I (2 clarinets)
  • La Vida Misma (piano, violin, cello and percussion)'


  • 1984 Canciones remotas for string orchestra
  • Symphonie No. 1 (orchester)
  • Remembrances (orchester)
  • Anima Latina (Orchester)
  • Cadence Quatuor en Ré

Orchestra with other solo instruments
  • 1972 Balada, concierto para flauta y orquesta de cuerdas (flute und orchester)
  • 1972 Concierto para violín y orquesta (violin and orchester)
  • 1981 Cancion de Gesta (For the Boat Loaded with the Future) (symphonic windorchester with piano)


  • Canciones Amatorias (para coro mixto, sobre textos de Federico García Lorca
    Federico García Lorca
    Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca was a Spanish poet, dramatist and theatre director. García Lorca achieved international recognition as an emblematic member of the Generation of '27. He is believed to be one of thousands who were summarily shot by anti-communist death squads...

     y José Hernández
    José Hernández
    José Hernández was an Argentine journalist, poet, and politician best known as the author of the epic poem Martín Fierro....

    (for SATB-choir)


He composed music for the sound track
A soundtrack can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film or TV show; or the physical area of a film that contains the...

 of the celebrated Mexican movie Como Agua Para Chocolate
Like Water for Chocolate
Like Water for Chocolate is a popular novel published in 1989 by first-time Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel.The novel follows the story of a young girl named Tita who longs her entire life to marry her lover, Pedro, but can never have him because of her mother's upholding of the family tradition...

 (1992). He composed the orchestral score for Vicente Amigo
Vicente Amigo
Vicente Amigo Girol is a Spanish flamenco composer and virtuoso guitarist, born in Guadalcanal, near Seville. He has played as backing guitarist on recordings by flamenco singers El Pele, Camarón de la Isla, Vicente Soto, Luis de Córdoba and the rociero band Salmarina, and he has acted as a...

's flamenco album, Poeta.

Original score for the cuban film La Última Cena (The Last Supper), directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea

External links



"LEO BROUWER" (2000). Documentary (35mm- 57 min). Written and Directed by JOSE PADRON. Co-Production ICAIC (Cuba), SGAE and Fundacion Autor de la Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España (SGAE).

"LEO BROUWER-IRAKERE" (1978). Documentary (35mm-24 min). Written and Directed by JOSE PADRON. Production Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematograficos (ICAIC).


"LEO BROUWER" is the most important and complete documentary of the life and work of Leo Brouwer. It was written and directed by the Cuban film maker JOSE PADRÓN between 1996 and 2000. The film was the result of a co-production between the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC), the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España (SGAE=, and the Fundación Autor of SGAE. The master negative was produced in 35mm with a duration of 57 minutes. ICAIC distributes it in private copies in the original Spanish as well as those with English sub-titles.

"LEO BROUWER-IRAKERE" documents an exceptional concert that sought to break the barrier between classical and popular music (Havana, 1978). Thus, it brought together for the first time Leo Brouwer -considered at the time one of the world´s most important guitar soloists - and the Afro-Cuban jazz group IRAKERE. The group, winner of a GRAMMY in 1978, and the # 1 ranking Latino jazz band, includes trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, saxophonist Paquito de Rivera, and pianist Chucho Valdés. The event brought together other stars as well. The film was written and directed by Cuban film maker JOSE PADRÓN between 1978 and 1979. Production was by the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos(ICAIC). The master negative was produced in 35mm with a duration of 24 minutes. ICAIC distributes it in private copies in the original Spanish as well as those with English sub-titles, together with the documentary "LEO BROUWER" of 57 minutes duration.

"FICTION WITHOUT FICTION" is a 30-minute version of the 57-minute documentary "LEO BROUWER. It summarizes the life and work of Leo Brouwer, and was written directed by Cuban film maker JOSE PADRÓN in 2002, and produced by PADRÓN himself with collaboration of the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC). The master negative was produced in 35mm, but was edited in AVID. ICAIC distributes it in private copies in the original Spanish as well as those with English sub-titles.



  • 1 2 Entretiens avec Leo Brouwer by Arnaud Dumond, Françoise-Emmanuelle Denis


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