"Music in live performance is one of our most powerful tools — it touches people directly and transcends ideologies"
Described as ‘a rising star’ and ‘a dynamic performer…. with a sensitive, natural gesture and musical phrasing, a clear command of orchestral forces’ Dr. Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia is a strong advocate of new music, having performed many premieres.
Mercedes Diaz Garcia' recent appearances include the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg and Sendesaal, Bremen with her concerts being broadcast by the Deutschlandfunk Kultur in Germany. She has conducted orchestras in North America, South America and Europe, participating in festivals such as MIMO in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and The National Music Festival (USA).
Her passion for creative programming and contemporary music led her to found the 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.
Mercedes received Master degrees in conducting from Bard College, where she studied with Harold Farberman and from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Mark Gibson. She received a Doctoral degree in Contemporary Music at the Bowling Green State University where she studied with Emily Freeman Brown. Other influential conductors have been Kenneth Kiesler, Cliff Colnot, Richard Rosenberg, Jessica Cottis, Edo de Waart and Paavo Jarvi, among others.
In 2017 and 2018 she was invited to be artist-in-residence/conductor at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity (Canada) to work with Steve Schick and the Ensemble Evolution.
Mercedes served as Conducting Fellow/Assistant Conductor of Orchestras during her doctorate 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.
She 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 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 while a Teaching Assistant at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and at Bowling Green State University.
Mercedes has performed many premieres, most recently the world premiere of Leo Brower’s Variaciones Concertantes (Brower is a distinguished composer from Latin America, commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic), Effrain Oscher along with Rachel Walker, Hong Da Chin, Dimitri Papageourgiou and Christopher Dietz, among many others. With Praecepta—an organization of young American composers— she was conductor from 2015 until 2018 of their annual micro-opera performances featuring emerging composers. She is conductor and co-director of Hamburg Dialogues, a New Music Festival in its third season based in Hamburg, Germany.
Bereits mit 19 Jahren war Dr. Mercedes Diaz Garcia Professorin für Oboe im “Spanish National Conservatory” in Madrid und Murcia.
In den USA unterrichtete sie Dirigieren am “Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music” sowie an der “Bowling Green State University.”
Mercedes dirigierte zahlreiche Sinfonieorchester in Europa, Nord- und Südamerika, ihr umfangreiches Repertoire umfasst klassische, romantische sowie zeitgenössische Sinfonie-, Opern-, und Ballettliteratur.
Sie ist zudem ein gern gesehener Gast auf Festivals, wie zum Beispiel dem National Music Festival in den USA, oder MIMO in Brasilien.
2017 und 2018 war sie Dirigentin und “Artist in Residence” beim Banff Center for the Arts and Creativity in Kannada.
Mercedes ist außerdem Gründerin und Musikalische Leiterin des VIVE! Ensembles.
Seit 2015 brachte das Ensemble zahlreiche Kammermusikversionen zur Aufführung:
Mahlers “Das Lied von der Erde”, Stravinskys “Rite of Spring”, Kaija Saariahos Oper Emilie - Standardliteratur ebenso wie neue Stücke, darunter mehrere Premieren.
2017 war VIVE! Ensemble zum “New Music Gathering” eingeladen, konzertierte in der Reihe “Toledo Museum of Art Great Performances” und wurde für eine Tournee engagiert, welche sie 2018 nach Cincinnati, Nashville und Dallas führte.
Mercedes ist leidenschaftliche Vorreiterin der Neuer Musik. Sie war Dirigentin zahlreicher Uraufführungen und gibt gerne neue Stücke in Auftrag. Von 2015 bis 2018 dirigierte sie beim New Music Festival (Mid American Centre for Contemporary Music).
Während der letzten drei Spielzeiten war sie Dirigentin bei “Praecepta” - eine Organisation, die mit jährlichen Aufführungen von Miniopern junge aufstrebende amerikanische Komponisten unterstützt.