Founder & Artistic Director
Diana V. Sáez is a leading specialist in the field of Latin American music and an accomplished, visionary choral conductor. Hailed by The Washington Post as “show[ing] accurate command of dynamics and rhythm,” she is recognized for balancing her singers’ strength with the complexity of music ranging from simple melodies to intricate compositions and arrangements. Her creative programming “entrelaza,” or interweaves, a dynamic variety of cultural themes, styles and languages.
Ms. Sáez has established Cantigas as a principal performer of Latin American music, with appearances at the Kennedy Center, presidential inaugural celebrations, national events, festivals, museums and embassies, as well as international tours in Argentina, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Drawing from both local and international music communities, she delivers high quality performances that integrate folk and classical musicians, emerging Latin American musicians, and artists from other disciplines, who have “praised Saéz for her sparkling energy as well as her precision as a conductor" (Silver Spring Voice).
Ms. Sáez is frequently invited as a guest conductor for regional and state festivals and initiatives, a collaborator with musical ensembles, and a lecturer. In 2012, she was a guest conductor at Anne Arundel County Public Schools Summer Choir Camp. During the Washington Chorus’s 2008 Christmas concert she directed the Washington Chorus and Cantigas in a joint performance. In 2008, she also conducted the Montgomery County Youth Chorus, a county-wide auditioned choral ensemble that provides recognition for talented young singers. Since 2001, Ms. Saéz has been an ongoing teaching artist at the Maryland Artist-Teacher Institute, a professional development program for teachers and school administrators who design and implement arts-integrated school curricula, under the auspices of the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland State Arts Council. For 17 years Ms. Sáez served as the music director of the World Bank–International Monetary Fund Chorus, an 80-voice ensemble featuring employees, retirees and friends of both organizations. She also directed the Catholic University of America Women’s Choir for six consecutive years.
In addition to generating awards for Cantigas, Ms. Sáez’s leadership has been recognized around the region. The Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington presented her with the Tony Taylor Award in 2003 for her artistic excellence and noticeable assistance to artists in the region. She was awarded the Arts in the Community Award for Excellence in 2002 for her major contribution to the quality of life in Montgomery County, MD. And, in 1999, she received the Poder con ganas Award from the Hispanic Democratic Club of Montgomery County, in recognition of outstanding and sustained leadership in empowering the Latin American community.
Diana Sáez is an active member of the Music Educators’ National Conference (MENC), Chorus America, and the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA), where she has served on the state board. She began her musical education at the Escuela Libre de Musica in her native Puerto Rico, where she studied piano with Violeta de la Mata. She earned a Master of Education from Harvard University, a Master of Choral Conducting from Temple University, and a Doctorate in Musical Arts at the University of Maryland in College Park. Her choral music and arrangements are published by Roger Dean Publishing Company, a division of The Lorenz Corporation.