Ecuadorian Diego Luzuriaga is a unique voice in Latin American composition. The strength of his music comes from its Andean rhythms and colors, its subtle avant-garde echoes, and its open Latin American lyricism. Recently, his output has been primarily for voice – cantatas, opera, songs (many popular, others on the cusp between popular and art song). Being both composer and poet, he creates vocal works that have intensity, fluidity, and durability. Luzuriaga has also published poetry and a book of short stories.
Diego was born in 1955 in Loja, in southern Ecuador, in a family of 12 children. He studied at the National Conservatory of Quito and at the Central University of Ecuador, at the École Normale Supérieure de Musique de Paris, at the Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University in New York.
In Ecuador, between 1977 and 1983, Luzuriaga did research, experimentation, interpretation and recording of traditional Andean and Latin American music with the group Taller de Música.
Much of his production has been vocal music: song cycles, cantatas, opera, and popular songs inspired by the rich Latin American traditions. All with his own texts.
His Responsorio (second movement of Liturgia) is part of the show Caminos del Inka, directed by Miguel Harth-Bedoya, which has been presented by the symphony or philharmonic orchestras of Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, Fort Worth, Boston, Philadelphia, and Norway.
He has composed soundtracks for films by his brother Camilo Luzuriaga and a variety of chamber music pieces, many of which include two instruments that he plays: flute and guitar.
He has received commissions from the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ensemble InterContemporain and the Ensemble Itinéraire of Paris, the Ensemble Pro Musica Nipponia and the Nishikawa Ensemble of Japan, the Nieuw Ensemble of Amsterdam, the Ensemble Aventure of Freiburg, the Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador, the Loja Symphony Orchestra, the Robert Aitken and Aurèle Nicolet flute duo, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Vocalessence of Minneapolis, Teatro Nacional Sucre of Ecuador, and the Quintet of the Americas, of New York.
He has taught musical composition at the Federal University of Brasilia.
He is the recipient of several international awards, including, in 1993, the Guggenheim Fellowship. His opera Manuela y Bolívar, the first Ecuadorian opera ever performed, was a national event and received critical acclaim when it premiered in Quito in November 2006. The same year, Ecuadorian president Alfredo Palacio presented Luzuriaga with the Eugenio Espejo Prize, the highest recognition to an Ecuadorian artist. His stage cantata, El Niño de los Andes, commissioned by VocalEssence of Minneapolis, premiered in that city in December 2008.
He currently lives with his family in Philadelphia, USA.