Mario Diaz de Leon

School: College of Arts & Letters

DMA, Music Composition, Columbia University, 2013

MA, Music Composition, Columbia University, 2009

B.Mus, TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts), Oberlin Conservatory of Music, 2004


Mario Diaz de Leon is an acclaimed composer and multi-instrumentalist, whose work encompasses modern classical music, experimental electronic music, extreme metal, and creative improvised music.

His classical works are noted for their bold combination of acoustic instruments and electronics, and are documented on four full length recordings. Working extensively with NYC based collaborators including ICE, Talea, TAK Ensemble, and Mivos Quartet, his music has been celebrated over the last decade for its “hallucinatory intensity” (New York Times), “snarling exuberance” (Pitchfork), “helter-skelter, electronically enhanced cadenzas” (New Yorker Magazine), and coupling of “crystalline clarity with the disorienting turbulence of a sonic vortex” (Wire Magazine). 

His recent live performances include events at Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Sacrum Profanum Festival (Poland), Donaufestival (Austria), CTM Festival (Berlin), Chicago Symphony Center, Hakuju Hall (Tokyo), Southbank Centre (London), Venice Biennale, Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), Musica Nova Helsinki (Finland), National Gallery of Art (DC), Ojai (California), Roulette (Brooklyn), The Kitchen (NYC), and Electronic Music Midwest (Kansas City).

He is guitarist and vocalist in Luminous Vault, a band co-founded with bassist Samuel Smith (Artificial Brain) in 2015. Combining black and death metal with machine rhythm and synthesizers, their EP “Charismata” was released by Profound Lore Records in 2017.  Under the name Oneirogen, Diaz de Leon toured internationally and produced a series of experimental electronic recordings from 2012-16, exploring linkages between ambient, drone, metal, and industrial music genres. Other current projects include Bloodmist, an electroacoustic improvisation trio with Jeremiah Cymerman and Toby Driver, whose most recent recording was given favorable reviews by National Public Radio and Downbeat Magazine. 

At Stevens, Dr. Diaz de Leon is collaborating with Research Assistant Professor Donya Quick to develop HAILO, an interactive live performance system. It is inspired by the metrically free-from phrases of Sephardic music and the works of Hildegard von Bingen, and explores improvised interaction between human input (via Diaz de Leon's guitar) and AI generated melody and rhythm, mapped onto a dynamic sound world of heavy synth timbres.

Professional Service

Board of Directors, Roulette Intermedium


Core Postdoctoral Lecturer in Music Humanities, Columbia University, 2015-18

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia University Computer Music Center, 2017-19

Professional Societies


Grants, Contracts & Funds

2018 Alice M. Ditson Fund Recording Grant with ICE

2017 Alice M. Ditson Fund Recording Grant with TAK Ensemble

2016 Los Angeles Philharmonic Commission for brass quintet and synthesizer

2016 BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Commission for Tectonics Festival

2015 Chamber Music America Commission for TAK Ensemble

2013 Jerome Foundation Award for Artist Residency at Roulette

2013 New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Commission

2011 American Music Center Recording Grant

Selected Publications
  1. Mario Diaz de Leon, Talea Ensemble, Rebekah Heller, Mariel Roberts, ICE. (Sep 27, 2019). Cycle and Reveal, Denovali Records (Germany).
  2. Mario Diaz de Leon, TAK Ensemble. (Sep 29, 2017). Sanctuary, Denovali Records (Germany).
  3. Luminous Vault (Mario Diaz de Leon and Samuel Smith). (Mar 10, 2017). Charismata, Profound Lore Records (Canada).
  4. Mario Diaz de Leon (Oneirogen). (Jun 3, 2016). Convivium, Denovali Records (Germany).
  5. Mario Diaz de Leon, Claire Chase, Joshua Rubin, International Contemporary Ensemble. (Jul 17, 2015). The Soul Is the Arena, Denovali Records (Germany).
  6. Mario Diaz de Leon (Oneirogen). (Mar 26, 2013). Kiasma, Denovali Records (Germany).
  7. Mario Diaz de Leon (Oneirogen). (Aug 17, 2012). Hypnos, Denovali Records (Germany).
  8. Mario Diaz de Leon, International Contemporary Ensemble. (Sep 29, 2009). Enter Houses Of, Tzadik Records (USA).
Book Chapters
  1. Diaz de Leon, Mario. (Oct 2008). "Scale and Ascent: Compositional Applications of Time Scaling", Arcana III, John Zorn, ed., Hips Road.
  • HMU 211 MIDI and Electronic Music
  • HMU 232 Sound Recording II
  • HMU 210 Introduction to Music Technology
  • HMU 231 Sound Recording I
  • CAL 301 Seminar in Writing and Research Methods
  • HMU 195 History of Electronic and Experimental Music