James Diaz


Third Year Graduate Student in Composition


103 Lerner Music Building

James Diaz, currently based in Philadelphia and New York, 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, minimalism and photography. 

He 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. 

James has been selected by the Nashville Symphony as a participant in the 2017 Composer Lab&Workshop for his orchestral piece “Mirrors in the Void”. Also, his orchestral work “From Infinity” was selected for the 2017 Underwood New Music Readings, hosted by the American Composers Orchestra in New York. In addition, his string quartet “Infrastructures” won second place and honorable mention in the 2017 Manhattan Prize. 

His music has been performed, premiered, awarded and recorded by the National Symphony of Colombia, Nashville Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Bogotá Philharmonic, EAFIT Symphony, REC Symphony, and MSM Composers’ Orchestra. 

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 composition with Reiko Fueting. James studied composition at the National Conservatory of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music in Composition, Honor Grade, in 2015. He has been sponsored by the Banco de la República de Colombia.