Javier Diaz is a percussionist, educator, and composer active in New York City. Javier plays regularly with the American Symphony Orchestra, chamber music groups, and Latin Jazz/Afro-Cuban folkloric groups in the New York area. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New York Pops, New York Perspectives Ensemble, John Adams’ Zankel Hall New Music Band, and the Hilliard Ensemble. He has been the principal percussionist in the Broadway productions of Guys and Dolls, Phil Collins’ Tarzan, The Wiz, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Rocky, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, Gloria Estefan’s On Your Feet!, and Once on This Island. Javier’s studio credits include Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, ECM's Tituli (with the Hilliard Ensemble) by Stephen Hartke, two albums with David Sanborn, including Time and the River (produced by Marcus Miller), award-winning films such as Tango Flush and Jesus Camp, and many TV and radio commercials.
As an Afro-Cuban/Pop percussion specialist, Javier has appeared with: Sean Kingston, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Patty La Belle, Lázaro Galarraga’s Afro-Cuban All Stars, percussionists Angel Luís Figueroa, Cándido Camero, Román Díaz, Pedro Martínez, The Pan-American Jazz Band, The Ethnix, Anette Aguilar’s Latin Jazz Group, Marta Topferova, Edmar Castañeda, Tribal Sage World Music duo project with multi-percussionist Roger Squitero, World Percussion group Kalunga, and the New York World Music Institute.
An active educator, Javier has taught concert percussion at El Sistema de Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela, University of Connecticut, Rutgers University, Queens College (CUNY), New York University, and at his private teaching studio in New York City and New Jersey. He has also taught Afro-Cuban percussion seminars, classes, and clinics at the Peabody Institute, University of Southern California, Percussion Artists Workshops Los Angeles/New York, Los Angeles School District, The Juilliard School, Rutgers University, Queens College, New York University, Boston Conservatory, University of Minnesota, and Mannes School of Music in New York City.
Mr. Diaz currently teaches the Afro-Latin percussion survey at the Juilliard School and directs the Afro-Cuban Percussion Ensemble at Rutgers University. His most recent book on Afro-Cuban percussion, The Afro-Cuban Handbook, has become an instant classic of the percussion literature.
As a composer, Javier has written chamber music, solo pieces, orchestral works, and electronic music. He has been commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival, New York University, and University of Southern California.
An alumnus of El Sistema de Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela and the Aspen Music Festival, Javier holds a BM from the University of Southern California, a MM from The Juilliard School, and a DMA from The Graduate Center (City University of New York).