DARWIN AQUINO (1979)
Dominican conductor and composer seen internationally as one of the top rising Latin American artists in both symphonic and opera fields. For the 2018-2019 season he continues as Music Director for Winter Opera St. Louis, Music Director for the Música Sacra concert series in Santo Domingo and Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Missouri. Aquino will also take on the new role of Conductor in Residence for the Washington University Symphony Orchestra.
A well-traveled guest conductor, Aquino constantly enjoys engagements around the world. Recent appearances include the 2018 New Year’sconcert with the Philharmonishes Staatsorchester Mainz in Germany, Fiesta Latina concert with the Saarländisches Staatsorchester in Germany, the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Camerata Washington Heights in New York, Alfredo Saint Malo Festival Orchestra in Panama, FIU Opera Theater in Miami, Filarmónica Boca del Rio in Mexico, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Festival Sembrando Talentos in Uruguay, among others. Aquino was selected as Music Director by the acclaimed Italian tenors Il Volofor concerts in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
A passionate opera conductor as well, Aquino has received outstanding reviews and public praise in his tenure at Winter Opera St. Louis for Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Bizet’s Carmen, Donizetti’s Elisir D’Amoreand Bizet’s Pearl Fishers. Early in his career, he was appointed Assistant Conductor for the Florida Grand Opera (Don Pasquale, Carmen, Norma, Barber of Seville), Opera Naples, (La Boheme)Palm Beach Symphony and Florida International University Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 he gave the Dominican premiere of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 with the Música Sacra Philharmonic to great acclaim and in 2016 received the prestigious Premio Soberano as Successful Dominican Artist Abroad.
Deeply interested in music education and social transformation through classical music, Aquino previously held posts as Director of the National Conservatory of Music, Music Director of the National Youth Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of “El Sistema”, in his homeland the Dominican Republic. Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of the world-known Venezuelan Sistema, referred to Aquino as “a great conductor, excellent composer and eminent violinist. A pioneer for classical music”. He was awarded for his service to the youth with the Hildegard Behrens Young Artist Prizeand the Arts Advocacy Award, both in the United States.
Aquino’s principal teachers were Grzegorz Nowak and Ramon Tebar, with additional studies and masterclasses from Colin Metters, Benjamin Zander, Jose Serebrier and James Judd. He holds a Master’s in Music in Orchestral Conducting from the Florida International University, where he received the Graduate Performer Award for his conducting of E. Chabrier opera L’Etoile.