As a child, Brouwer received his initial stimulus from his father, a physician, who was an aficionado of Villa-Lobos, Tárrega and Granados. He initiated his son encouraging him to play these composers' works, mostly by ear.
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 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.
Brouwer has held a number of official posts in Cuba, including the directorship of the Cinema Institute of Cuba's music department. Among his works are a large number of solo guitar pieces, several guitar concertos and over forty film 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 festivals throughout the world, and especially to other Latin American countries.
WORKS FOR GUITAR
1955 Suite No. 1 Antigua
1955 Suite No. 2
1957 Danza Característica "Quítate de la Acera"
1959 Fuga No. 1
1959 Tres Apuntes
1964 Danza del Altiplano
1964 Elogio de la Danza
1968 Un Dia de Noviembre
1971 La Espiral Eterna
1973 Estudios Sencillos (Nos. 1-10)
1981 El Decamerón Negro
1981 Preludios Epigramáticos No. 1-6
1984 Variations on a Theme of Django Reinhardt
1987 Paisaje Cubano con Campanas
• 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 Omaggio a Prokofiev
2004 La Ciudad De Las Columnas
2008 Paisaje Cubano con fiesta
Cantilena de los bosques dedicata a Roberto Fabbri
Dos aires populares cubanos
Paisaje Cubano con lluvia
Paisaje Cubano con rumba
Piezas sin títulos No. 1-3
Variations on a Piazzolla Tango
Dos Temas populares cubanos
• Drume negrita, cancion de cuna (Berceuse)
• Ojos Brujos
1957-1958 Micropiezas Hommage à Darius Milhaud
1958 Micropiezas No.5
1964 Música incidental campesina, (music for Theaterplay El fantasma)
Per Suonare a Due
Toccata para cuatro o más guitarras
Paisaje Cubano Con Rumba
1979 Acerca del cielo, el aire y la sonrisa
GUITAR AND ORCHESTRA
1958 Tres danzas concertantes
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)"
1960 Sonata para cello solo
1962 Variantes para un percusionista
Diary Of An Alien-Flute Solo (flute)
ENSEMBLE / CHAMBER MUSIC
1961 Cuarteto de cuerdas No. 1, a la memoria de Bela Bártok
Cuarteto de cuerdas No. 2
Cuarteto de cuerdas No. 3
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 clarinettes)
La Vida Misma (piano, violin, cello and percussion)'
1984 Canciones remotas for string orchestra
Symphonie No. 1 (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)
"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.