Assistant Professor of Music
Diego Piedra is the Orchestra Director at Valparaiso University. A strongly driven performer and educator, Dr. Piedra feels at home working on the podium with student and professional orchestras. Recent professional conducting engagements have included the Music Directorship and Conducting of Spectrum Orchestra, visiting orchestral positions at Luther College and the University of Toledo, and guest conducting appearances with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra in Michigan, the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, and the Municipal Orchestra of Cartago. In Costa Rica Dr. Piedra was in high demand as the orchestral conducting professor at the University of Costa Rica as well as a guest teacher and performer in Venezuela, Honduras and Guatemala. He founded the national youth orchestra called Manuel María Gutiérrez at SINEM (the Costa Rican version of Venezuela’s El Sistema), and was its Music Director and Conductor from 2009-2011. Since 2014, Dr. Piedra has been Music Director at the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra’s Summer String Camp, working as a conductor, violinist and composer. As a professional violinist he has been a member of the prestigious New World Symphony in Miami, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Oakland Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica and Concertmaster of the Orquesta de Cámara de Costa Rica. Dr. Piedra participated as violinist and assistant conductor in the tour and recording of the University Symphony Orchestra of the University of Michigan (winner of four Grammy awards in 2006), which culminated at Carnegie Hall, New York. At Michigan, Dr. Piedra was the Music Director of The Campus Symphony Orchestra and the Campus Philharmonia Orchestra, and he conducted two full opera productions and numerous symphonic concerts. In the summer of 2017 Dr. Piedra was awarded an honorary mention at a conducting competition in London, England. Dr. Piedra holds a DMA in Orchestral Conducting, two Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, and a BM from Baylor University. He lives in Valparaiso with his wife Maria and daughter Clara. He studied violin with Yehonatan Berick, and conducting with Kenneth Kiesler and participated in master classes with Simon Rattle, Carl St. Clair, Giancarlo Guerrero and Miguel Harth-Bedoya.