Joe Wyatt
Published November 2, 2016

Those orchestrating London’s Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition scoured the globe for a visionary, a pianist whose interpretation of Chopin’s distinctive musical language they could assuredly deem transcendent.

DiegohpThey found their virtuoso at Amarillo College.

Dr. Diego Caetano, assistant professor of piano at AC, learned Nov. 1 that he has been declared winner of the all-nationalities competition and thus has earned a performance date Dec. 14 at London’s famed Royal Albert Hall, the virtual Carnegie Hall of the United Kingdom.

“I’m extremely honored,” said the Brazilian-born Caetano. “There are so many excellent pianists in the world – four million studying at the collegiate level right now in China alone – so this is very exciting, especially in that I’ll be representing Amarillo College internationally.”

Caetano is no stranger to the limelight afforded by the winner’s circle at significant music competitions. This marks his 47th first-place triumph at national or international competitions.

And while it will be his debut performance at Royal Albert Hall, Caetano has indeed previously showcased his considerable talent at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

“What makes this special,” he said, “is that it gives me the honor of being the best role model I can be for my students. They can see me not just in the classroom, but visibly out there performing, as well. I want to be an example for my students to follow their dreams. I want them to know they can ascend from here to a university, perhaps even Julliard – that the sky is the limit.”

Caetano, who performed in London over the past summer, says that performance, coupled with several nominations and letters of recommendation from some high-profile, “famous” pianists, led to his inclusion in the Virtuoso International Music Competition.

“They look at your entire body of work, then invite your submissions,” he said.

Caetano submitted footage of his unique interpretation of Chopin along with a summation of his extensive international appearances throughout the U.S., South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, all of which are taken into consideration by judges.

Caetano, who joined the AC faculty in July, received his doctorate of musical arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In the short time he has called Amarillo home, he has been astonished at the myriad arts opportunities in the community.

“This is a great place for the arts,” he said. “I have been surprised and amazed and impressed that right here in Amarillo there would be so many opportunities to attend performances of every kind – music, theater, you name it. Who would have thought it? Some days I have actually had to choose.”