April 03, 2017By: J. F. de Lovely
          J Diaz is a Sound Artist currently based in the UK. He designs sound for a variety of mediums—including theatre, dance, and the concert stage. J's concert music has been performed by the woodwind quintet The City of Tomorrow, members of Roomful of Teeth, Grammy award winning bassist and Bang on a Can All Star Gregg August, violinists Jennifer Choi and Fung Chern Hwei, pianist Stephen Gosling, cellist Yves Dharamraj, and other New York City musicians. Over the past few years, J has collaborated on numerous projects with theatre and dance companies located across the continental United States in Oregon, Indiana, Colorado, and New York City, and has even worked on the international stage. He designed and composed sound for "Dwennimmen", a dance work, premiered in Ghana in 2014 with the Accra Theatre Workshop. During his tenure in New York, J completed projects with the RadioTheatre Company, Poetic Theatre Productions, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and Wide Eyed Productions, where he served as the Resident Sound Designer from 2014 - 2017. After leaving New York to pursue opportunities on the west cost, J was appointed Assistant Sound Designer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, located in Ashland, Oregon for the summer of 2015. He served as the Assistant Sound Designer for the world premier of Lynn Nottage's "Sweat".
        His passion for sound began early on, and continued into college where he earned his Bachelor of Musical Arts in piano from DePauw University in 2013. It was here he studied with Dr. May Phang. With her mentorship J cemented his philosophy on music, work ethic, and developed an ever-evolving inner ear for the strange. He has studied with many eminently qualified composition mentors through the years including Dr Scott Perkins, Dr John Mallia, Dr Michael Early, and Dr Jonathan Bailey Holland. As of February of 2017, J holds an MFA in composition from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In fall of 2017, J will begin an MA in composition at The University of Sheffield.
         Currently, J is working with Elizabeth Sutherland, Co-Artistic Director of the Accra Theatre Workshop, on a new musical, various dance pieces, video projects, and several sound installations. These include the musical “Shia” based on Ghanaian folklore, reinterpretations of “Dwennimmen”, and a film Sui Generis part of the 89plus exhibition in Zurich and Shanghai. He will hold a residency with the Accra Theatre Workshop in December of 2017.  During this residency an adaption of Handel's Messiah will be premiered. The adaption will bring together influences of electronics, traditional Ghanaian dance and music, and contemporary pop and Afro-beat music. In May of 2017, J released his debut album of electronic sounds, Sic Pilot. The album explores the national ambiguity in J's Mexican American identity.