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James Díaz


Called “stark, haunting elegance” with “intimate focus” by The Washington Post, and "ethereal" by The Wire, the music of Colombian-born composer/sound-maker James Díaz strives to create unique sonic textures, sound masses, and interactive environments. Deeply influenced by the concept of psychedelia, his music also draws from elements of graphic design, Latin American landscapes, and photography.

Recently, the New York Philharmonic and the Juilliard MAP Orchestra premiered his work and does the Moon also fall? at the Lincoln Center. Additionally, in May, James’ was selected New Artist of the Month by Musical America Worldwide.

James has won multiple international and national awards. In 2022, James was selected as one of the commissioned composers for the Composition Inclusion program and one of the winners of the National Sawdust's Digital Discovery Festival New Works Commission in 2020. In Colombia, James has won all the major composition awards, such as the 2015 National Prize of Music in Composition and the  2014 National Prize for the Reopening of the Teatro Colón from the Ministerio de Cultura de Colombia, the 2018 Bogotá Philharmonic Prize in Composition, for his orchestral piece Frack[in]g, as well as the 2015 Bogotá Philharmonic Prize for Wind Band, and the 2012 Bogotá Philharmonic Prize for Chamber Music.

James’ works have been performed by leading orchestras including the Basel Sinfonietta, the Cologne Radio Orchestra (WDR Sinfonieorchester), the Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia, La Nueva Filarmonía, American Composers Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín, Xalapa Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's and by ensembles such as Longleash, Sō Percussion, Yarn/Wire, Unheard-of//ensemble, HUB New Music, TAK Ensemble, National Sawdust Ensemble, among others. James’ music has been featured in festivals such as Time:Spans in New York, ACHT BRÜCKEN, and SinusTon in Germany, Culturescapes in Switzerland, and the International Winter Festival of Campos Do Jordao in Brazil. Similarly, in collaboration with filmmaker/producer Leticia Akel, his film music has been presented at the SIFF Seattle International Film Festival ShortsFest, Palm Springs International ShortFest, Madrid FCM-PNR Festival, Cinemaissí Festival (Finland), and the Huesca, Quito, Sao Paulo, and Santiago international festivals.

James, serving as the first-time ever composer-in-residence for the Medellin Philharmonic, premiered RETRO, his largest work for orchestra and electronics in 2019.

Currently, James is working on his studio album [speaking in a foreign language] with violinist Julia Suh; the album will be released in 2024.