Schwob School to Commemorate Diazes' Retirement

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- The Schwob School of Music will honor professors Manuel and Betty Anne Diaz, below, as they each conclude nearly two decades of service at Columbus State with an unforgettable musical celebration designed to leave a lasting impression of their legacy.

Betty Anne DiazManuel Diaz The Diaz Benefit Concert and Scholarship Benefit is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, May 11 in RiverCenter’s Legacy Hall.

The program will include Brahms’ G Minor Piano Quartet and feature three of the Diazes’ children who are accomplished musicians:

Violist Roberto Díaz, President of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and former principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1996-2006).
Cellist Andres Diaz, a Southern Methodist University faculty artist and an artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Violinist Gabriela Diaz, a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and a Boston-area performer who has performed worldwide.

Andres and Roberto Diaz also perform with violinist Andrés Cárdenesas, the third member of the internationally renowned Diaz Trio.

The Diaz brothers and sister will be acompanied on the Legacy Hall stage by pianist Eugenio Urrutia, a student of Betty Anne Diaz in the mid-1990s at CSU and an internationally respected performer, who will join the performance in celebration of his studies and friendship with professor Diaz.

Another of the Diazes’ daughters, Jenny, will join her parents in the audience.

Throughout the couple’s career at CSU, the Diazes have made an impression that has touched the lives of students, faculty and staff.

'What stands out to me in the careers of the Diazes is the combination of high standards and caring about their students,' said Ron Wirt, associate director of the Schwob School of Music. 'Behind the scenes are countless hours they have spent with individual students and small instrumental groups. Occasionally, one of these students or groups emerges in a competition, revealing the high standards and consistent hard work they inspire. Both are wonderful musicians, and I have enjoyed my many collaborations with them,' he said. 'They also set a most faithful example in attending performances by their students and colleagues: Go to any concert at the Schwob School, and the Diazes will be there.'

As the Diazes prepare to move on, they leave behind a gift to continue their legacy of dedicated service to students in musical education. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the newly created Betty Anne and Manuel Diaz Music Scholarship, recognizing excellence in performance on piano or viola.

'We were extremely fortunate to receive a significant lead-off gift from Mrs. Effie Bowers,' said Fred Cohen, director of the Schwob School of Music. 'We are hoping to raise additional funds from this wonderful benefit concert. All of us at the Schwob school are grateful to the entire Diaz family from Manuel and Betty Anne to Roberto, Andres, Gabriela and Jenny for giving of themselves so generously in guiding and providing positive futures for aspiring musicians.'

Cohen said he anticipates the first scholarship will be awarded during 2009-2010.

For tickets ($100 apiece) call 706-649-1986 or e-mail