"Music in live performance is one of our most powerful tools — it touches people directly and transcends ideologies"
Described as “A dynamic performer…. with a sensitive, natural gesture and musical phrasing, a clear command of orchestral forces” and “an extraordinary, talented conductor”, Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia has broad experience with baroque and romantic repertoire and is a strong advocate of new music, having performed many premieres. Her performance has been described as “nothing shy of brilliant”.
Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia is the Music Director and founder of VIVE! Ensemble. Since 2015 they have performed Kaija Saariaho’s Opera Emilie, the chamber versions of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, plus many other compositions—standard literature and new works alike— including several premieres. VIVE! was invited in 2017 to perform in the annual New Music Gathering (celebrated in a different US city every year), were featured in the Toledo Museum of Art Great Performances series, and were engaged for a tour that took them to Cincinnati, Nashville, and Dallas in the summer of 2018.
Ms. Diaz Garcia has conducted orchestras in North America, South America and Europe, and has participated in the festivals MIMO in Sao Paulo (Brazil), National Music Festival (USA), Pacific Region International Music Academy (Canada),and the International Conductors Festival (Ukraine). Ms. Diaz Garcia has participated in prestigious masterclasses with Edo de Waart, Neeme Jarvi, Kenneth Kiesler, and Paavo Jarvi, among others. In 2017 and 2018 she was invited as artist-in-residence/conductor at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity (Canada) to work with the Ensemble Evolution and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and was invited to return for the 2018 session.
Ms. Diaz Garcia is a strong advocate for new music, commissioning new works and having performed many premieres. She has performed operas by Amy Beth Kirsten and Kaija Saariaho in addition to standard repertory including Puccini’s La Boheme and Verdi’s La Traviata among others. With PRAECEPTA —an organization of young American composers— she has been conductor for the past three seasons of their yearly micro-operas performances featuring emerging composers. For the past three seasons she has been conductor in the annual New Music Festival organized by the Mid American Centre for Contemporary Music. In addition to opera and orchestral works she has performed ballet and wind ensemble repertoire.
Ms. Diaz Garcia began her musical career as an oboist and pianist, receiving advanced degrees in both instruments, playing in orchestras in Spain, Germany and England, and recording as soloist for the Spanish Television. She was awarded a tenured position from the Ministry of Education to teach oboe in National Conservatories in Spain, and held professorships in Murcia and Madrid. In the United States she has taught conducting at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and at Bowling Green State University. She has also taught a number of other courses at BGSU, including Aural Training and Music Appreciation.
Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia served as Conducting Fellow/Assistant Conductor of Orchestras at BGSU where she also conducted the New Music Ensemble. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on aspects of time in contemporary music. She received the Katzner Award as well as Pro Musica Scholarship Award, both in recognition of her outstanding academic and artistic work during her doctoral studies.