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Biography  -  Diego Pinera

Diego Pinera was born 1981 in Montevideo, Uruguay and has lived in Germany since 2003. He studied drumming at the Berklee College of Music (USA), at the University of Music in Havana (Cuba) and at the University of Music and Theater in Leipzig (Germany).


Pinera’s encounters with Latin American music, and with jazz in all its breadth, have led him to develop an unmistakable style. Through the combination of his advanced conception of rhythm, a jazz sound with a Latin touch, and the freedom of improvisation his strong character comes across vividly. In Pinera´s compositions there is musical complexity and virtuosity in abundance imbued with great subtlety and his love to odd meter grooves. In Uruguay he recorded with the Diego Pinera Trio the album “Buscando” under the Perro Andaluz label. Back in Germany he founded the Berlin Quartet and released in 2010 “Reflexiones” featuring Tony Lakatos. In 2014 the Jazz Thing Next Generation Series “Strange Ways” followed. In May 2016 he went on the cd release tour for “My Picture” with Donny McCaslin and Phil Donkin.


In 2017 Diego Pinera received as bandleader and composer the prestigious prize ECHO Jazz for his album “My picture” in the category drums/ percussion national, recorded in New York with Mark Turner and Ben Street. His first ACT music album “Despertando” was released 2018 and his next ACT album "Odd Wisdom" feat. Donny McCaslin has been considerated for the finalist of the GRAMMY Music Awards 2021. With this project he played at the Jazzbaltica 2022, live recorded by ZDF. In November 2022 he has been invited to play in 30th anniversary event of ACT at the Berlin Philharmonic together with Wolfgang Haffner, Nils Landgren and many more artists. Diego Pinera won the German award Deutscher Jazzpreis 2023 for „BestArrangement of the Year“ of Béla Bartók’s String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85 and was also nominated for the best composition of the year with „Through Hell“. Since 2022 he has taught at the University of Music Dresden "Carl Maria von Weber" and since 2023 at the University of applied sciences Osnabrück. He is also a first-call session/ sideman/ clinician and has been touring the world with many different settings and bands. He played with musicians like Donny McCaslin, Mark Turner, Ben Monder, Scott Colley and Ben Street. 

Winner of the German Award "Deutsche Jazzpreis 2023"for "Best Arrangement of the year", Diego recorded with John Patitucci and Dave Kikosko in NY 2024 and is a teacher and part of the Jazzfaculty of the University of Music in Dresden and Osnabruck.

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“A multicultural post-bop vision. (…) Pinera is a seriously skilled drummer, his writing is complex; and the band consistently brings a breezy quality to the performances. (…) Pinera´s personality has never emerged so strongly before.”

Downbeat (US) about “Odd Wisdom”


Diego Pinera’s arrangement of Béla Bartók’s String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85 captures the spirit of the times and fits perfectly in space and time. Pinera adds new musical elementsto the original work by distributing motifs among different instruments such as electric guitar, saxophone and double bass, and by adding a jazz quartet. Through improvised passages of the jazz quartet and reharmonizations, the original work becomes a new arrangement that is virtually a musical commentary of the existing work. The artistic concept of the arrangement attempts to explore the interaction between the string and jazz quartets and to link both worlds, that of notated and improvised music. Thus, a synthesis of Bartók’s original with Pinera’s arrangements takes place, which at the same time connects 20th century modern music with 21st century jazz.


Deutscher Jazzpreis 2023


Endorsement List

SM Percussion
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