The Diffracted Symphony

L.A. based sculptor and recording artist Sebastien Leon creates a site-specific sound sculpture, which will be on display on Level One between Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s throughout the Soluna Festival. Inspired by the rib cage of a whale that has washed ashore, the newly commissioned work plays an altered version of Verdi’s Requiem, performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Jaap van Zweden.



Steel pipes, steel base on casters, electronic audio system and wires, vegetation
112" long, 120" wide x 100" high

From pollution and climate change to a soaring population that bleeds into available resources, humanity has officially entered the Anthropocene period. This era witnesses the alteration of the Earth's surface, atmosphere, climate, oceans, and lands as a result of collective human activities, causing biodiversity to drastically decline by 60 percent from 1970 to 2017, according to the Zoological Society of London.

Sebastien Leon's sound sculpture The Diffracted Symphony, inspired by the rib cage of a whale washed ashore, plays an altered version of Verdi's Requiem as a funeral mass for the biological state of the world. The recording used is the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's 2014 performance conducted by Jaap Van Zweden. Leon's plea is for us to recognize that the challenge of our time is for humanity to recognize understand it power for both destruction and preservation, and our urgent need to act as the caretakers of the Earth's balance.

The Diffracted Symphony is exhibited at NorthPark Center, surrounded by five Hammering Men by Jonathan Borofsky.

"I tremble, and I fear for the judgement and the wrath to come, when the heavens and the earth shall be moved. The day of wrath, that day of calamity and misery; a great and bitter day, indeed." (Extract from Verdi's Requiem)

Commissioned by Nancy A. Nasher & David J Heamisegger Family SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival, with the Dallas Symphony.

Contributors: Stephen Dewey (Sound Design and Composition), Jason Francesco Heath, Ph.D. (Experiential Composition), Fife Metal Works (Fabrication).


SOLUNA is a festival for Dallas, bringing together international artists with Dallas’s finest arts organizations. Anchored by performances with Jaap van Zweden at the close of his Farewell Celebration Season as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, SOLUNA celebrates Dallas’s rich cultural legacy and diversity of expression. By incorporating contemporary and performing arts and strong educational and science components, audiences are invited to experience music and art while interacting with their Dallas community in new and exciting ways.