José Dias was born in Fafe (Portugal) and had his first piano lessons at the age of 12. In 2001 he travelled to South Africa to pursue his musical studies, obtaining his BMus Honours cum laude from the University of Stellenbosch, specializing in solo piano performance. After further studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Zürich (Switzerland), José returned to South Africa to take up a position as repetiteur at Cape Town Opera, where he remained until 2011. He accompanied CTO artists in countless concert performances all over the country and was involved as repetiteur and vocal coach in productions of operas by composers ranging from Monteverdi to Gershwin and Jake Heggie, as well as world premieres of newly-commissioned works. José is still a regular collaborator and guest artist with CTO, most recently and notably as musical director and pianist of the CTO African Angels production, which has been touring internationally since 2013 to wide popular and critical acclaim.
2011 marked the start of an already remarkable freelance performing career which sees him as a regular presence in all major concert halls in South Africa as well as in top Arts Festivals such as Aardklop, KKNK, Klein Karoo Klassique, Suidoosterfees, Woordfees, Greyton and Darling Festivals. In recent seasons, international performances have taken him to Portugal, Israel, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany, where he is to return in 2015 for a 13-concert tour including performances in prestigious halls such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Münchner Philharmonie, Bonn Beethovensaal, Frankfurter Alte Oper and many others in the country's main musical centers.
Besides his regular appearances in solo recitals and his ever growing demand as accompanist and chamber musician locally and abroad, José Dias has also appeared as soloist with the main South African orchestras. He is a regular collaborator of some of the most renowned South African musicians such as Liesl Stoltz, Maria du Toit, Magdalene Minnaar and Francois du Toit, as well as many visiting international artists. In 2014 he was one of the official accompanists at the first UNISA International Flute and Clarinet Competition, accompanying the winning candidate, Russian flautist Matvei Demin.
José is co-creator and curator of the RISE concert series in cooperation with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, creating a platform for the display of young South African talent performing unusual repertoire. José is also an avid performer and supporter of new and contemporary music, and has premiered several works by South African composers such as Hendrik Hofmeyr, Alexander Johnson and Braam du Toit, some composed especially for him. Many of these performances have been recorded and are available on CD.
José Dias is also currently working towards a PhD (Music) in Solo Performance at the University of Cape Town under the supervision of Prof. François du Toit and Prof. Hendrik Hofmeyr and is a part-time lecturer at the UCT College of Music.