Bio: ÓLIVER DÍAZ
A Spanish conductor and musical and artistic director of the Gijon Symphony Orchestra (OSIGi), Barbieri Simphony Orchestra (BSO), and musical director in Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid.
He started his training in the conservatories in Asturias at Gijon and Oviedo where he finished his studies in piano and musical composition in 1999.
During this period and coinciding with his first professional steps he won prizes at numerous piano competitions –«Ciudad de San Sebastián», «Ciudad de Gernika», «Ciutat de Berga», «Casa Viena» and «Piano Royal»– and took master classes with soloists of international renown such as Jean-François Heisser, Michel Beroff, Irina Zaritskaya, Josep María Colom and Blanca Uribe.
Between 1998 and 2001 he settled in Baltimore, the United States to take courses at the Peabody Conservatory of the John Hopkins University, alternating his training with performing as a maestro’s accompanist and assistant at the university opera as well as in the choir, the Peabody Singers.
While he completed his training with Julian Martin, head of the piano department and professor at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, he worked closely with Edward Polochick, head conductor of the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska and the Concert Artist in Baltimore.
In August 2000 he decided to create the «New Millennium International Piano Festival» in collaboration with Julian Martin, who he conducted in concert along with other prestigious soloists such as Boris Slutsky, Blanca Uribe, Stephen Prustman and Jenny Lin and founded the Millennium Symphony Orchestra soon to be the Gijon Symphony Orchestra of which he has been the head since February 2002.
That same year he became the first Spanish musician –and the only one to date– selected, admitted and awarded with the «Bruno Walter» scholarship for orchestra conducting to study at the New York Juilliard School of Music with maestros of the stature of Otto Werner Mueller, Charles Dutoit and Yuri Temirkanov.
With his dual facets of conductor and soloist he has given piano recitals and conducted from the podium in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Romania and the United States having been invited by the Symphony Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias, the Madrid Community Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, Cordoba Symphony Orchestra, Gradus ad Parnasum Symphony Orchestra, Aproarte Symphony Orchestra, New Amsterdam Symphony, Targu Mures Philharmonic Orchestra, Philarmonica de Stat de Transilvania and Concert Artist in Baltimore, among many others.
Diaz’ repertoire ranges from baroque up to contemporary music: a special place has the «Entartete Musik» of Weill, Schulhoff and Schreker, which he performed with the solo flutist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Dieter Flury and the pianist Maria Prinz, among others. He also excels at the North American repertoire of composers such as Gershwin, Copland and Bernstein, next to such distinguished performers as the clarinettist Philippe Cuper and, naturally, the Spanish repertoire with such emblematic titles such as El sombrero de tres picos, El amor brujo and Noches en los jardines de España by Manuel de Falla; the Danzas fantásticas by Joaquín Turina or the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo, to name only some that he has tackled with brilliance accompanied by the classical guitarists Miguel Trápaga and Franco Platino.
In 2004 he premiered the Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, «Zahara», by Javier López de Guereña, which gave rise to the recording for Elemental Films of the documentary Cooking for Jenny based on the preparation, trials and subsequent premier of the work Zahara by the Spanish scriptwriter and film director Félix Cábez. Prior to this he had already shown a interest for film music, recording the soundtrack for the feature film El refugio del mal.
Oliver Diaz has also led acclaimed performances of the Beethoven symphonies, Verdi’s Requiem (with the Orfeon Donostiarra Choir).
His abiding interest in new aesthetic musical trends took him in 2002 to the Avery Fisher Hall to debut in the «Focus Festival», the largest contemporary music festival in New York.
To date he has over ten CDs and DVDs to his credit, produced for the record labels Subterfuge Records, Infinity Studios, La Factoria Records, GijónDnota, Elemental Films, Warner Music Spain and 18 Chulos Records.
His boundless enthusiasm for symphony reached its peak with the educational initiative «Music, maestro», which is performed in numerous educational concerts aimed at school children and from 2010 he has been a member on the judges panel of the «Ana María Iriarte» international singing competition, started by the popular Spanish mezzo-soprano herself, which is a foundation for discovering new vocal talent in the sphere of Spanish opera. After delivering a brilliant version of the zarzuela Pan y Toros, marking two centuries since the death of the Spanish writer and politician Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, 2011 has been the year of his first presentation in the Teatro Nacional de la Zarzuela in Madrid, in charge of the popular work of the genre Luisa Fernanda, and the premiere of a new production of the opera The Barber of Seville, also in Spain’s capital.