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Renato Diz

Renato Diz is a Portuguese pianist, composer, arranger, improviser, producer and educator based in New York City.

Born in Porto, Portugal, Renato studied exclusively classical piano for the first 12 years of his life, under supervision of Rui Pintão, however with the intention of becoming a psychologist.

A chance encounter with jazz at the age of 16 – a performance by renowned Portuguese jazz pianist and composer Carlos Azevedo – changed his life and he decided, literally overnight, to become an artist. He became the first (and only) private student of Carlos Azevedo and went on to win one of two open spots at the leading jazz program in Portugal and Spain for a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance. His main instructors were Michael Lauren and Abe Rábade in jazz, and Sofia Lourenço in the classical department. He also took private lessons with Mário Laginha.

In 2011, Renato moved to New York City to pursue a double master’s degree in jazz and classical performance at New York University, from which he graduated Summa cum laude. His main instructors are internationally-acclaimed jazz artists Ralph Alessi, Jean-Michel Pilc, Tony Moreno and Andy Milne, and Marilyn Nonken in classical and post-modern repertoire. During this time he was awarded a NYU Scholarship for Outstanding Performance, Ella Fitzgerald Scholarship and Leake & Watts Citizenship Award.

Renato finds inspiration in many art forms and has composed, performed and recorded post-modern, experimental, new jazz, pop, heavy metal, and world music.

One of his recent projects is a collaboration with Zulfugar Baghirov on a groundbreaking modern interpretation of selected works by Azerbaijani / Soviet composers Qara Qaraev, Zakir Baghirov, Faradj Qarayev and Uzeyir Hajibayov. Renato is also active in composition and innovating cross-disciplinary artistic experiences.

In 2009, he composed and recorded the soundtrack for the documentary “Memórias de um lugar (A Place’s Memories)”, which was named Official Selection at the Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival. His project “Lake”, an interactive stage performance fusing electronics, video, acting and acoustic improvisation, won Best Artistic Project at the 2010 Serralves International Festival.

In January 2013, Renato transversed artistic mediums again in collaboration with celebrated Portuguese expressionist painter Adelino Angelo, who’s notable works include portraits of John Paul II and D. Manuel Fraga Iribarne. The critically acclaimed performance featured Renato spontaneously improvising on the piano to 11 randomly chosen paintings by the maestro at the Antonio de Almeida Foundation in Porto, Portugal.

In 2015 his project “I will play your soul” was selected between 26,000 applications to be featured at IDEAS Festival at New Museum. Renato dedicates his life to creating music that transcends musical style to touch audiences with sound that is pure and universal in message and meaning.

He is active on the New York and Los Angeles scene performing at venues such as Carpenter Center, Symphony Space, Drom, Shapeshifter Lab, Smalls, Black Box Theater and Webster Hall, and served as a member of the jury at the 2012 New York State School Music Association Piano Competition.

Since 2011 Renato Diz has been featured in a total of 25 recordings between his own music and collaborative projects that range from new music to jazz, heavy metal, world, classical, afro, experimental and avant-garde to name just a few.