Dr. Mercedes Diaz Garcia is a multi-faceted conductor whose vision of integrating the classics with new creative work highlights
the inclusivity with which all eras and genres have
always spoken to us.
I started my journey as a conductor years ago in Barcelona and Munich, studying phenomenology and its relationship to phrasing and musical structure. This study gave me insight into the experience of phrasing and the use of tempo as tools to bring out the structure of a musical work.
A few years after starting my conducting studies I left my position as oboe professor in Spain and moved to the US. In the next 10 years I continued exploring the expressive tools of the body to convey musical ideas and to communicate with the orchestra. My doctoral research was on the perception of polyphony -- Auditory Scene Analysis, and on the function of time in music -- both subjects that have held a special fascination and accompanied me throughout my musical life. I have conducted professional orchestras, taught conducting at the University level, and coached a number of chamber groups.
I believe in a holistic approach to music making that allows us to connect with our body and with the sound to convey powerful performances. We make expressive music by feeling the expressiveness inside of us, and in our body. Before we communicate with others we should feel deeply inside that which we want to communicate, so we can connect with others from within in an authentic way.
Making music is, in many ways, like meditating. We need to create the space and the silence inside of ourselves to allow the music to flow, and to connect first with ourselves. To make music we need to become better listeners. By listening better we become better musicians and also better colleagues to those around us. To play in an ensemble we need to develop a connection to others, with the sound, and with our body.
As a conductor I believe that playing in an orchestra should be similar to playing chamber music: the musicians are also connecting with each other and listening to one another. Communication has to go in every direction. It is not only from the conductor to the musicians, but also among the musicians; the conductor responds to what the musicians are offering.