Juan Leovigildo Brouwer, more popularly known as Leo Brouwer was born in Havana on the 1st of March 1939.
For right well earned, it is one of the most important guitarists, composers and conductors of Cuba. His work is influenced by great masters of music as Bach, Stravinsky and Bartok; but it retains the roots of both rural and African traditional Cuban music.
For his contributions to Latin American music he received the Tomas Luis de Victoria Prize awarded in 2010. In addition, he was awarded, in 2009, the National Film Award for his contribution to the Cuban film industry.
The guitar as a professional career
He learned self-taught to play guitar as a teenager and was a disciple of Isaac Nicola, one of the prominent guitarists that has given the island. In his youth he traveled to America to continue his studies, where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music, New York. Some of his teachers were Vincent Persichetti, Hermann Scherchen and Leonard Bernstein, of which he learned that music is absolute and passionate delivery.
His professional debut was on July 22, 1955, at the Lyceum Lawn and Tennis Club, and from there he never stopped guitar. With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution the 1st of January, 1959, he joined the process of the island. He joined the faculty of the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in 1961 until 1963.
But after not stopped educating. In 1969 he founded the Group of Sonora Experimentation ICAIC and passed through his hands most prestigious performers of the New Cuban Trova. Much of his career has aimed at preparing young musicians. For the dedication and love that has given this activity has been recognized by countless artists. Including Silvio Rodriguez, who says Leo Brouwer has the two most important characteristics of an intellectual: know how to learn and know how to transfer knowledge.
Leo Brouwer and the other arts
This Cuban musician dabbled in other branches of the arts such as cinema, theater and the visual arts. Leo Brouwer considers the visual arts and music are complementary activities.
“If a piece of Bach can be heard, while a painting by Klee is observed, you can achieve true happiness” musician once said.
So for a time in his life, he devoted himself to the arts. In the field of cinema he composed the soundtrack for countless films. These include “La muerte de un burócrata” (Death of a Bureaucrat), “Papeles son papeles” (Papers are papers), “Memorias del subdesarrollo” (Memories of Underdevelopment), “Lucia”, “La primera carga al machete” (The first machete charge), “Una pelea cubana contra los demonios” (A Cuban struggle against demons), “El hombre de Maisinicú” (Man of Maisinicú), “El otro Francisco” (The other Francisco), “La última cena” (The Last Supper), and “Cecilia”, among many others.
On stage, he joined the group “Los juglares” (The Jugglers) that directed Carlos Suarez Radillo and performed the music for some of his productions, in 1957. By 1963 he joined, he joined the Musical Theater of Havana team, doing work as a consultant and musical composer.
Currently, he organizes and conducts chamber music festival which gathers hundreds of Cuban and foreign performers. The aim of these meetings is, in his own words, “create a space for intelligent music”.