Performed by the brilliant TAK Ensemble, “Sanctuary” is a ritualistic masterwork of modern classical music, combining acoustic and electronic elements with visionary intensity.
For the third full length document of his classical works, Mario Diaz de Leon presents his most unified offering to date, distilling the modernistic hellfire of his previous releases to a crystalline essence. “Sanctuary” is an album length piece created in collaboration with TAK Ensemble, a brilliant NYC based quintet devoted to energetic and virtuosic performances of contemporary music. Featuring soprano voice, flute, violin, bass clarinet, marimba, and the composer’s own synthesizer work, the album is a hypnotic and ritualistic journey through realms of angelic and demonic experience.
Since 2002, Mario Diaz de Leon has created a significant body of new works for acoustic instruments and electronics. Following his teenage years playing hardcore punk, metal, and electronic music, Diaz de Leon was inspired by the mystically oriented modernisms of Stockhausen, Scelsi, Messiaen, and Dumitrescu, and soon after developed his signature style while a student at Oberlin Conservatory. His debut album as composer, "Enter Houses Of" was released in 2009 on John Zorn's Tzadik label, and praised by the New York Times for its "hallucinatory intensity". A second album, entitled "The Soul is the Arena", was released in 2015 on Denovali, and was named a notable recording of the year by New Yorker Magazine. Pitchfork wrote that the album "combines his interests seamlessly into music that throbs with snarling exuberance." Both releases were performed by his longtime collaborators in the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
He currently leads the metal band Luminous Vault as vocalist and guitarist, whose “Charismata” EP was released on Profound Lore Records in spring 2017. From 2012-2016, his solo electronic project Oneirogen (o-NI-ro-jen) toured internationally and released three full length albums on Denovali. He collaborated with director Zev Deans to create the score for Alien: Biotic, a short film commissioned by Fox as part of the official Alien: Covenant campaign. In 2016, the Los Angeles Philharmonic commissioned and premiered his “Lightmass” for their “Noon to Midnight” festival of contemporary music. He has also collaborated with Nate Young of Wolf Eyes on “Standard Deviance One”, which they recently performed at Tectonics Festival Glasgow with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Minnesota, he has lived in in New York City since 2004, and received a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University in 2013, where he currently teaches.
“21st century chamber music that combines crystalline clarity with the disorienting turbulence of a sonic vortex.” - WIRE Magazine
“Plenty of people can write a one-off ‘amplified’ piece for chamber musicians, but few artists have built a language as stable and rewarding as Diaz de Leon’s.” - Pitchfork
Laura Cocks - flute
Liam Kinson - bass clarinet, clarinet
Charlotte Mundy - voice
Marina Kifferstein - violin
Ellery Trafford - marimba, percussion
with Mario Diaz de Leon - synthesizer