The eighth of eleven children, Díaz was born at the Caserio La Candelaria, a small village near Carora in western Venezuela. From childhood he showed a great interest in music. At age 16 he ran away from home to Carora, where he sought better schooling. He later went to Trujillo, in the Venezuelan Andes, and studied saxophone and clarinet under Laudelino Mejías while working as a typesetter in a newspaper. He also studied English and typewriting before going to Caracas in 1945 to study the guitar at the Escuela Superior de Musica José Ángel Lamas under maestro Raul Borges.
In 1950 the Venezuelan Government awarded him a scholarship to continue his guitar studies in Madrid, under Regino Sainz de la Maza. That same year he performed his first guitar concert in Europe. In 1951 he went to Siena (Italy), seeking to study with Andrés Segovia. There he impressed Segovia so much with his flawless technique and extensive repertoire that the maestro could not but agree. Three years later, he progressed to become the assistant and substitute to Segovia, and started performing in some of the most prestigious concert halls of Europe.
In 1961, Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo’s piece Invocación y Danza —dedicated to Alirio Díaz— won the First Prize at the Coupe International de Guitare, awarded by the Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF). In turn, Díaz obliged and the next year performed this very difficult solo piece. Due to its many complexities, this particular work is very seldom performed. This was the first of many compositions subsequently dedicated to Alirio Díaz.
Alirio Díaz has performed all over the world combining baroque music with the works of modern Latin American composers, such as Lauro, Sojo and Barrios Mangoré. He currently teaches in Rome and performs in concert with his son Senio. During the European winter, he usually returns to Venezuela to his native town, La Candelaria. During the span of several years, a guitar contest named Concurso Internacional de Guitarra Alirio Díaz has been held in his honor in Caracas and other cities in Venezuela (the April 2006 contest was held in Carora), where he often makes welcome appearances.
Edited by Ekemen on 4 May 2007, 14:36
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