German Diez, 90, head of G.H.M.S. piano program | East Villager & Lower East Sider

German Diez, 90, head of G.H.M.S. piano program

German Diez.  Photo by Samantha Soule

German Diez. Photo by Samantha Soule

BY PARISA ESMAILI  |  The Greenwich House community is mourning the loss of its beloved teacher Maestro German Diez, chairperson of the piano department at Greenwich House Music School. For more than half a century, Diez, 90, made music an integral part of life in the West Village at Greenwich House Music School.

First coming to the United States from Havana, Cuba, upon winning the National Music Award Competition in 1945, he then received a personal scholarship by world-famous artists Maestro Claudio Arrau, and his assistant, Rafael De Silva, to study in the U.S. for a period of 10 years. 

Diez began his tenure at Greenwich House Music School in 1950, and since then taught more than 1,500 students. His influence can be seen in every aspect of the school’s operations, including the way it gauges student progress through recitals and end-of-year concerts.

Diez elevated the school’s stature when he established the Piano Master Class Series more than 20 years ago, which has featured renowned pianists, such as Joseph Bloch, Sam Sanders, Seymour Bernstein, David Dubal, Jeffrey Swann and Sara Davis Buechner.

Among his students were Erica Nickrenz, of the Eroica Trio, and recent Academy Award-winning composer Bobby Lopez, of “Frozen,” as well as “The Book of Mormon” and “Avenue Q.” In addition to an Oscar winner, Lopez is also an Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award — or an EGOT — winner, one of only 12 people to have won all four awards.

“He was a towering figure in music education, and our hearts weigh heavy today as we at Greenwich House Music School deeply mourn his passing,” said Rachel Black, the music school’s director. “German’s talent, service, dedication and teaching abilities are something that all of the faculty and staff here at the music school aspired to, and we will continue his legacy by honoring his tireless commitment to our students. His insightfulness, dedication and passion for music and the close-knit community at Greenwich House will be sorely missed.”