Roberto Dí­az, viola

Roberto Diaz

A violist of international reputation, Roberto Díaz is president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music, following in the footsteps of renowned soloist/directors, such as Josef Hofmann, Efrem Zimbalist, and Rudolf Serkin. As a teacher of viola at Curtis and former principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he has already had a significant impact on American musical life, and continues to do so in his dual roles as performer and educator.

As a soloist, Mr. Díaz collaborates with leading conductors of our time on stages around the world. He has also worked directly with important 20th- and 21st-century composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki, whose viola concerto he has performed numerous times with the composer on the podium, and whose double concerto he premiered in the United States; Edison Denisov, who invited him to Moscow to work on and perform his viola concerto; and Ricardo Lorenz and Roberto Sierra, both of whom have written concertos for him. Most recently, Jennifer Higdon composed her 2018 Grammy Award-winning viola concerto for Mr. Diaz.

A frequent recitalist and chamber musician, Roberto Díaz has performed with major string quartets and pianists in chamber music series and festivals worldwide. He has also toured Europe, Asia, and the Americas as a member of the Díaz Trio with violinist Andrés Cárdenes and cellist Andrés Díaz. The Díaz Trio has recorded for the Artek and Dorian labels.

Mr. Díaz’s recordings on the Naxos label with pianist Robert Koenig include the complete works for viola and piano by Henri Vieuxtemps and a Grammy-nominated disc of viola transcriptions by William Primrose. Also on Naxos are Brahms sonatas with Jeremy Denk and Jonathan Leshnoff’s Double Concerto with violinist Charles Wetherbee and the Iris Chamber Orchestra led by Michael Stern.

Roberto Díaz’s numerous awards include an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College, honorary membership by the national board of the American Viola Society, and membership in the prestigious American Philosophical Society founded by Benjamin Franklin. As a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he was selected by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach to receive the C. Hartman Kuhn Award, given annually to "the member of the Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standards and the reputation of the Philadelphia Orchestra."

Prior to his decade-long tenure as Principal Viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he performed the entire standard viola concerto repertoire with the orchestra, including a number of Philadelphia Orchestra premieres, Mr. Díaz served as Principal Viola of the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich, was a member of the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and a member of the Minnesota Orchestra under Sir Neville Marriner. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Burton Fine, and a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where his teacher was Joseph de Pasquale, his predecessor at the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also has a degree in industrial design.

Roberto Díaz plays the ex-Primrose Amati viola.