Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) Cuban Composer & Guitarist
As a composer, Brouwer is primarily self-taught, and his development as a creator of music can be traced logically through three stages of compositional style. His first period began in 1954 with a series of pieces that explored the possibilities of the guitar. Brouwer makes free use of musical materials from his Cuban roots. Pieces with traditional forms such as fugue are present alongside works which incorporate the vital rhythmic energy of his homeland. In 1961, Brouwer attended the Warsaw Autumn festival in Poland, and came into contact with the music of avant-garde composers such as Penderecki, Baird and Bussotti. By 1968, he had assimilated these ideas into an entirely unique andpersonal style.
The composer has referred to his current compositional style as "national Hyper-Romanticism." His piece for guitar orchestra, Acerca del sol, el aire y la sonorisa (1978), was the first in this mature phase. It displays all the characteristics of his new style: a return to Afro-Cuban roots mixed withelements of tonality, traditional form, programmatic gestures, and minimalism. - Steven Thachuk