Colombian composer James Diaz, currently based in Philadelphia, composes music that strives to create unique sonic textures and environments. His music extends beyond exclusively concert music including projects that explore the potential of electroacoustic and mixed media settings. Deeply influenced by psychedelic-rock bands his music also draws from elements of the classical canon, renaissance music, postmodernist architecture, Latina-America landscapes, minimalism and photography.
Recently, James has been awarded with the 2018 Bogotá Philharmonic Prize in Composition for his orchestral piece “Frank[in]g”.
As the first production of PATH New Music Theather and teaming up with five more composers, James has premiered the multimedia opera “Simulacrum” with libretto by Marianna Staroselsky and performed at 3LD Art & Technology Center.
James won the National Prize of Music in Composition from the Colombian Ministry of Culture for “Saturn Lights”, his concerto for percussion trio and orchestra in 2015. The same year, his piece was recorded by conductor Mateo Sepulveda, and the REC Symphony, with James as producer.
In 2017, James was nominated for one of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ annual awards in music composition. In addition, his string quartet “Infrastructures” won second place and honorable mention in the Manhattan Prize.
His orchestral music has been performed, awarded, and/or recorded by the Nashville Symphony, the National Symphony of Colombia, the American Composers Orchestra, the MSM Composers’ Orchestra, the Bogota Philharmonic, and the EAFIT Symphony. In 2014, the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSEP Foundation) commissioned him a chamber piece for the International Winter Festival of Campos do Jordao.
James is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in composition at the University of Pennsylvania as a Benjamin Franklin fellow, where he studies with Anna Weesner. James holds an M.M. in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Reiko Fueting and received the Nicolas Flagello Award and the Saul Braverman Award for outstanding achievement in Composition and Music Theory, respectively.
Photo: Mariangela Quiroga Photography