About the composer

Diego Vega is a Colombian composer. His music has been performed in some of the most important concert halls in the United States, Europe and Latin America by ensembles such as the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Eighth Blackbird, Ensemble X, Alea III, the Colombian National Symphony, the Bogotá Philharmonic, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, the Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris, the Quintet of the Americas, the Soli Chamber Ensemble, and internationally acclaimed soloists like pianist Stephen Prutsman, clarinetist José Franch-Ballester, cellist Andrés Díaz, and flutist Bradley Garner, among others. Diego has written commissioned works for the Colombian National Symphony, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, the Cornell Symphony and the Cornell Chorus, and the Salvi Foundation and the Cartagena International Music Festival. Vega has also been awarded the National Prize of Music in Composition in 2004, the Ensemble X composition competition in 2004, Alea III 20th anniversary prize in 2002, one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the Year in 1996 in Colombia, and prestigious scholarships such as Fulbright and the Sage Fellowship at Cornell University.

“ Nowadays he stands out as one of the most active and versatile Colombian musicians of our time”

—Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia

Vega holds degrees from Cornell University (DMA), University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (MM), and Universidad Javeriana (BM) in Bogota, Colombia, and has served as faculty at Syracuse University and Universidad Javeriana. Currently he is professor of music composition and theory at UNLV. Among his composition teachers are Guillermo Gaviria, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Joel Hoffman, Roberto Sierra, and Steven Stucky.

Diego Vega has written music for soloists, a variety of chamber groups, symphony orchestras, wind ensembles, choral ensembles, computer and electronic music. He has incorporated elements of Colombian traditional music into some of these works.

“ driving, infectious music that brimmed with vitality… ”

—Andrew Druckenbrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Major Performances

  • Sinfoniæ Profanæ for organ and brass quintet, performed by Pascal Marsault, organ; Clément Saunier, Alexandre Batty, trumpets; Benoît de Barsonny, french horn; Fabrice Millischer, trombone; Jérémie Dufort, tuba. Sala de Conciertos de la Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia, July 21, 2010. Work commissioned by the Banco de la República de Colombia (Reserve Bank of Colombia).
  • Divertimento for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, performed by José Franch-Ballester, clarinet; Angélica Gámez, violin; Andrés Díaz, cello; Stephen Prutsman, piano. Teatro Heredia, Cartagena, Colombia, January 16, 2009. Work commissioned by the III Cartagena International Music Festival.
  • Tumbaos for orchestra, performed by the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and the Colombian National Symphony, Jean-Pascal Hamelin conductor. Teatro Metropolitano, Medellín, Colombia, June 1st, 2008. Opening concert for the Annual General Assembly of the Organization of American States.
  • Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, performed by the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá with Ricardo Jaramillo, conductor and Radostina Petkova, pianist. Auditorio Fabio Lozano and Auditorio León de Greiff, Bogotá, Colombia, June 9 and 10, 2006.
  • hlör u fang axaxaxas mlö, performed by Ensemble X: Kia-Hui Tan, violin; Rick Faria, clarinet; John Haines-Eitzen, cello; Read Gainsford, piano. Barnes Hall, Cornell University, February 2005.
  • Movement for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, September 2002, performed in the finalists’ concert of the 20th Alea III International Composition Competition, conducted by Theodore Antoniou (Tsai Performance Center, Boston)
  • String Quartet, performed by Cuarteto Latinoamericano, January 2002 (Carnegie Mellon University), October 2002 (Festival Cervantino, Guanajuato, Mexico), March 2003 (Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.), June 2005, Palacio de Bellas Artes (México D.F.)
  • Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, commissioned and performed by Christopher Jepperson and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Colombia, (Bogotá, Colombia, 1996)
  • Messe de Pentecôte, commissioned and performed by Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, France, June 1995.
  • Motets de Notre-Dame de Paris, commissioned and performed by Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, France, May 1995
  • Sinfonía en un Movimiento, performed and recorded by Orquesta Sinfónica de Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia, November 1994)

“ solid work in the mainstream of 20th century neoclassicism, [his work] explores the boundaries of tonality and offer challenges to even the most well-coordinated ensemble ”

—Joan Reinthaler, on Diego’s String Quartet, Washington Post, March 10, 2003

“ profound artistic value of his work, in which the conjunction of musical expression and compositional technique achieve an extremely convincing and attractive aesthetic result”
—Composers Sergio Mesa and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon,
referring to Diego’s music

Fellowships and Awards

  • 2010 Ithaca College Chamber Orchestra Competition winner
  • 2009 Artistic Residence at the Banff Centre in Canada (Awarded by the Ministry of Culture of Colombia and the Banff Centre)
  • 2004 National Prize of Music in Composition, Ministry of Culture of Colombia
  • 2004 Robbins Prize in Composition, Cornell University Department of Music
  • 2004 Ensemble X Composition Competition winner with the work hlör u fang axaxaxas mlö
  • Alea III International Composition Competition, 20th Anniversary Prize Winner 2002.
  • Sage Graduate Fellowship, Cornell University, 2000
  • University Graduate Scholarship, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 1998-2000
  • Fulbright Scholarship, 1998-2000
  • Finalist in Premios Nacionales de Composición, for the Work “Audi Reliqua” for Wind Symphony, Bogotá, Colombia, 1998
  • One of the top ten young executives of the year in Colombia, Junior Chamber International, Bogotá, Colombia, 1996
  • Honorable mention for outstanding academic performance, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia, 1994
  • Honorable mention in Premios Nacionales de Composición, for the Work Suite for Woodwind Quartet, Bogotá, Colombia, 1992
  • Honorable mention in Concurso Internacional de Composición de la Sociedad Filarmónica de Lima, Lima, Perú, 1992

“Con la extraordinaria ejecución de Angélica Gámez en el violín, José Franch Ballester en el clarinete, Andrés Díaz en el cello y Stephen Prustman en el piano, el colombiano Diego Vega brilló con luz propia en el III Cartagena Festival Internacional de Música, cuando el estreno de su obra ‘Divertimento’ hizo de la jornada una noche mágica con mucho ritmo y movimiento.”

—Alda Mera, El País, Cali, Colombia, January 17, 2009