DARWIN AQUINO (1979)
Dominican conductor seen internationally as one of the top rising Caribbean artists in both symphonic and operatic fields. His latest review in conducting Bellini’s opera Norma by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch conveys: “Darwin had the orchestra sounding great from the first measures of the overture and maintained a good balance between stage and pit. He has a fine feel for the nuances of the bel canto style, and knows to breathe with the singers”.
A well-traveled guest conductor labeled by his “moving, absorbing and robust performances”, Darwin constantly enjoys engagements around the world. Recent appearances include the Philharmonishes Staatsorchester Mainz in Germany, Saarländisches Staatsorchester in Germany, National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, The Cleveland Opera, ADCA Symphony Orchestra in New York, Filarmónica Boca del Rio in Mexico, Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra, Alfredo Saint Malo Festival Orchestra in Panama, FIU Symphony Orchestra in Miami, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Chicago Summer Opera, among others. Aquino was also selected as Music Director by the world acclaimed Italian tenors Il Volo, for concert tours in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
A fervent opera conductor as well regarded for his “passionate and precise baton”, Darwin has received outstanding reviews and public praise for conducting Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Bizet’s Carmen, Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, Gershwin’sPorgy and Bess, Donizetti’s Elisir D’Amoreand Bizet’s Pearl Fishers. Early in his career, he was appointed Cover Conductor for the Florida Grand Opera (Don Pasquale, Carmen, Norma, Barber of Seville), Opera Naples (La Boheme), the Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra and the Florida International University Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 he conducted 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 Soberanoas Successful Dominican Artist Abroad.
Deeply interested in social transformation through classical music, Darwin worked closely for many years with Gustavo Dudamel in Venezuela and previously held posts as Artistic Director of El Sistema, Director of the National Conservatory of Music and Music Director of the National Youth Symphony Orchestra, in his homeland the Dominican Republic. Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of the world-known Venezuelan Sistema, referred to Darwin as “a great conductor, excellent composer and eminent violinist. A pioneer for classical music”. Darwin was awarded for his service to the youth with the Hildegard Behrens Young Artist Prizeand the Arts Advocacy Award, both in the United States.
For the 2018-2019 season he served as Music Director for Winter Opera St. Louis, Music Director for the Música Sacra concert series in Santo Domingo, Conductor-in-Residence for the Washington University Symphony Orchestra, Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Missouri St. Louis and Cover Conductor for the St. Louis Youth Symphony Orchestra. Aquino has also been recently selected as Music Director for the Gateway Festival Orchestra, starting in July 2019.
Darwin’s principal teachers were Grzegorz Nowak and Ramon Tebar, with additional studies and masterclasses from Benjamin Zander, Colin Metters, Jose Serebrier, Carlos Miguel Prieto 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.