Georgia native Gabriela Diaz began her musical training at the age of five, studying piano with her mother, and the next year, violin with her father. Shortly before her sixteenth birthday, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, a type of lymphatic cancer. She was treated with chemotherapy and radiation at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta and the Medical Center in Columbus.
As a cancer survivor, Gabriela is committed to cancer research and treatment. She has lent her talents to a wide range of related programs and organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, The Race for the Cure, OnCare, Inc., the Columbus Medical Center, and the Egleston Children’s Hospital at Emory University in Atlanta. In 2004 Gabriela was a recipient of a grant from the Albert Schweitzer Foundation. This grant enabled Gabriela to begin organizing a series of chamber music concerts in cancer units at various hospitals in Boston called the Boston Hope Ensemble.
Gabriela holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from New England Conservatory, where she was a student of James Buswell. Gabriela has attended the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, and has performed at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, Newport Chamber Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, North Country Chamber Players, Monadnock Music, Apple Hill, Vail Valley Bravo Music Festival, and Cactus Pear Festival, among others.
In the summer of 2007 Gabriela acted as Concertmistress under Pierre Boulez at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Lucerne, Switzerland. Devoted to contemporary music, Gabriela has been fortunate to work closely with many significant living composers on their own compositions, namely Pierre Boulez, Magnus Lindberg, Frederic Rzewski, Alvin Lucier, Steve Reich, Brian Ferneyhough, John Zorn, Osvaldo Golijov, Lee Hyla, and Helmut Lachenmann. In 2003 she won the BMOP/NEC concerto competition, playing Zorn’s Contes des Fees with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. She also became the youngest person to ever record the Ligeti Violin Concerto, recorded for Mode Records with New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Ensemble (not yet released). A reviewer commented on her performance of the concerto, “Gabriela Diaz, whose astonishing performance of György Ligeti’s 1993 Violin Concerto sent the audience into raptures at the opening celebration of the centennial of Jordan Hall.”
She is actively involved in contemporary music in Boston, and is a member of the Callithumpian Consort, Firebird, Ludovico, and Dinosaur Annex, and Sound Icon Ensembles. Boston critics have mentioned Gabriela as “a young violin master… Diaz shone in her extended solo passages.” Lloyd Schwartz of the Boston Phoenix noted, “…Gabriela Diaz in a bewitching performance of Pierre Boulez’s 1991 Anthèmes. The come-hither meow of Diaz’s upward slides and her sustained pianissimo fade-out were miracles of color, texture, and feeling.” Others have remarked on her “vibrant playing,” “polished technique,” and “vivid and elegant playing.”
Recordings available: Mode Records, New World Records, BMOPSound, Centaur Records