Justino Díaz, Renowned Opera Singer and NEC Alumnus, Receives Kennedy Center Honors

The bass-baritone opera singer was honored by President Biden for his lifetime artistic achievements.

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Renowned opera singer and NEC alumnus Justino Díaz is a recipient of this year's Kennedy Center Honors for his lifetime of contributions to opera.

The Puerto Rican bass-baritone attended New England Conservatory from 1959–1962, and was honored by NEC in 1986 with an honorary Doctor of Music degree. During his time at NEC, Díaz studied with opera director Boris Goldovsky and tenor Frederick Jagel. 

50 years ago, in 1971, Díaz performed in the Kennedy Center Opera House inauguration as the leading male role in Alberto Ginastera's Beatrix Cenci. His career has taken him across the world's major stages as he performed alongside other legends of opera, while embodying many of opera's greatest characters.

You can watch President Biden's initial remarks about Díaz in the video of the presidential reception that was held prior to the event. The full event, featuring tributes to Díaz from opera singers and performers, will be broadcast on CBS on Wednesday, December 22, at 9:00 pm Eastern time.

NEC Commencement, 1986: Justino Díaz, center, and fellow honorary degree recipients Joseph Silverstein, Miles Davis, and Virgil Thomson, with NEC president Laurence Lesser. Photo by Paul Foley.
A voice and a presence that depicts the drama of human experience unlike few others ever have, or ever will.
President Joe Biden, on Justino Díaz
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