“Leo Brouwer is considered one of the most important living figures of classical music in Latin America,” reports Betto Arcos on Tuesday (4/11) at NPR. “His works are played regularly in concert halls around the world, and he’s scored more than 50 films. But at the age of 78 … he’s just grateful that people are moved by his music…. Brouwer taught himself everything he knows about music…. Brouwer says he listened to Cuba’s classical radio station all the time and learned how to read sheet music by haunting music stores in Havana when he was 15 years old…. ‘I spent four hours a day standing, studying Stravinsky, including one of Mozart’s string quartets,’ [Brouwer says]…. Brouwer’s models were Bartók, Schumann, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. He wanted to do for the guitar what they had done for instruments like piano and violin. Part of that style is incorporating traditional music and Cuban instruments in classical music forms. But Brouwer is also a big fan of popular music [including] The Beatles…. In 1960, he created the Cuban Institute of Art and Film Industry and helped organize the conservatories on the island…. Today, he focuses all of his energy on composing.”

Posted April 14, 2017