As president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Roberto Diaz is accustomed to working with young students who have come to Curtis to hone their skills at the hand of some of the world’s greatest musicians.
In his other role as a world-famous violist, Diaz has performed with classical artists in many of the legendary concert venues around the world. LaGrange will soon join his long list of concert appearances as he joins the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 13 for Courage and Concertos.
This is not just another engagement for Diaz. The concert serves as a reunion of sorts, providing an opportunity for Diaz to play with family and friends. His father, Manuel Diaz, is a long-time member of the orchestra, and Patricio Cobos, LSO music director, conductor and lifetime friend of Manuel Diaz, has known Roberto Diaz for most of his life.
“I am very excited to be coming to LaGrange,” said Diaz during a recent phone conversation. “It is always very special to play with my father and Pat. There’s a special feeling on the stage when one has the opportunity to play with family and friends. The collaboration creates a great energy in the hall.”
The connection between the Diaz family and LaGrange runs wide and deep. Family matriarch Betty Ann and siblings Andres and Gabriela have also performed as soloists with the LSO.
Music education is also very important to the entire family. Besides Roberto, who holds a leading position at Curtis Institute, Andres Diaz is currently professor of cello at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Manuel and Betty Ann are retired professors, and they, along with Gabriela, have each served on the faculty of Ovation, the LSO summer music camp.
For Cobos, the concert is a continuation of a decades-long partnership with the Diaz family.
“Manuel and I have been friends and have played together for decades, so I have known Roberto since he was a young boy. He is a wonderful person and an excellent musician,” said Cobos.
Through the years, Cobos and Roberto Diaz have played together on a number of occasions, both in the United States and abroad, but it has been a while since their last collaboration.
“I am looking forward to working again with Roberto,” Cobos said. “In fact, the first time either of us played the Bartok Viola Concerto, which is one of the pieces he is playing here, we played together.”
Making his first appearance in Callaway Auditorium, Diaz spoke of performing away from the spotlight.
“In the larger cities around the world, there are concerts most every night. I find it especially gratifying to perform in smaller towns where the concert is a special event, not just another performance lost among countless others.
“I enjoy playing in the smaller halls. The more intimate settings allow for a strong connection with the audience, unlike that of playing in some of the cavernous halls.”
Along with the Bartok concerto, the concert also includes a performance by Diaz of Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G Major. The second half of the program is a salute in honor of the service and sacrifice of our 22 million American veterans. Selections include Rodgers’ Victory at Sea and a stirring rendition of the Armed Forces Salute, featuring the LaGrange Symphony Chorus.
“Roberto and I have shared many memorable performances over the past 25 years, but it has been too long since last we played together. I am also proud to be honoring our armed forces veterans during the concert. Our patrons are in for a special treat,” said Cobos.
“Courage and Concertos” plays 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 in Callaway Auditorium. The program features Roberto Diaz, and the second half of the program is a salute in honor of the service and sacrifice of 22 million American veterans. Selections include Rodgers’ Victory at Sea and a stirring rendition of the Armed Forces Salute featuring the LaGrange Symphony Chorus.
Members of local Boy Scout troops will present the colors to open the concert. Scouts will also lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and present the flags of the armed forces during the musical salute to veterans.
Tickets may be purchased in advance from the Symphony office by calling 706-882-0662 prior to the day of the concert. Tickets will also be sold at the Callaway Auditorium box office beginning at 7 p.m. the night of the concert. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and concertgoers are encouraged to arrive early.
Adult tickets are $25 for Mezzanine seating and $15 for seats in the orchestra and gallery. Special value seats in the first four rows of the orchestra section are available for $5. All tickets for students sixth grade and older are $5. Children fifth grade and younger are admitted free with an adult.
For tickets or more information, please contact the LSO office at 706-882-0662 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online at www.lagrangesymphony.org.