Darwin Aquino is internationally recognized as one of the top rising conductors from Latin America, both in symphonic and opera fields. His inspired conducting and versatility as a composer are highly demanded in Europe, United States and Latin America. Lately, the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra appointed Aquino as Principal Conductor for the 2016-2017 season. Other recent engagements includes guest conductor with the Mainz Philharmonic Orchestra in Germany, Winter Opera in St. Louis (G. Verdi “Il Trovatore” / G. Bizet “Carmen”), Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra, Santo Domingo Music Festival, Música Sacra Philharmonic and cover conductor for the Florida Grand Opera (Rossini “Barber of Seville” / G. Donizetti “Don Pasquale” / V. Bellini “Norma” & G. Bizet “Carmen”). Darwin serves also as the director of the National Conservatory of Music and the Juan Pablo Duarte Symphony Orchestra, in his homeland the Dominican Republic.
In 2015 was selected among many international composers for the premiere of his orchestral piece “Espacio Ritual” by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, during the Festival “Presences” at La Maison de la Radio in Paris. The Latin American Collegium of Composers and the Caribbean Composers Forum selected him as their youngest member for his outstanding achievements in composition. Recently, was invited to La Habana, Cuba, as one of the judges for the Composition Prize Casa de las Americas 2015.
With a vibrant career as a conductor he has been invited to lead the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Alfredo de Saint Malo Festival Orchestra in Panama, FIU Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theater, Filarmónica Boca del Rio in Mexico, Sembrando Talentos Festival Orchestra in Uruguay, International Youth Orchestra in Virginia, among others. The Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA) chose Aquino as founder violinist, guest conductor and composer, for many concert tours throughout the Americas and for special performances at Carnegie Hall. He has worked as conductor with soloists such as Rachel Barton Pine, Robert Davidovici, Maria Kanyova, Kemal Gekic, Jorge Pita Carreras, Shari Mason, Roland Baldini, among others. Aquino is the first conductor in the Dominican Republic to premiere Anton Bruckner’s symphonies.
Since 2004 has served as Music Director of the National Youth Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Dominican Republic’s “Sistema”. Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of the world-known Venezuelan Sistema, refers to Aquino as “a great conductor, excellent composer and eminent violinist. A pioneer for the musical youth in Latin America”.
Some of his international prizes include: “Premio Soberano” as Successful Classical Artist Abroad, “Musici Mojanesi” in Italy, three “Premios Nacionales de Musica” and two “Premios de Composicion Academica” in the Dominican Republic, “Hildegard Behrens Young Artist” and “Arts Advocacy Award” in the United States. In 2008, the Dominican Ministry of Culture appointed Aquino as the first composer in residence of the National Symphony Orchestra. The complete recordings of his works are found on three albums: “Espacio Ritual” (CD 2008), “Congofonia” (CD 2012) and “Musica Sacra” (DVD 2011).
For the last several years his compositions have been premiered by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, the Mainz Philharmonic in Germany, the Santo Domingo Music Festival Orchestra, the Dominican National Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmónica Boca del Rio in Mexico, the National Symphony Orchestra in Salvador and the Música Sacra Philharmonic. His chamber music is frequently performed at international festivals such as, the Festival Presences in Paris, the New Music ISCM in Miami, Latin American Music in Venezuela, Flamingo International in the USA, SMASH Salamanca in Spain, the Latin American Composers Forum in Colombia, University of Costa Rica, the Las Americas in Concert at the Mannes College of Music in New York, ATempo in Caracas, the Premio Casa de las Americas in Cuba, the International Forum of New Music in Mexico, the Miami Conservatory and North South Consonance in New York, among others.
Aquino was also selected as an international representative for the Orquesta Juvenil Centroamericana (OJCA), Iberorquestas and Jeneusses Musicales International (JMI). In 2011, The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University invited Aquino as a distinguished conductor and speaker for the conference “Youth Orchestra of the Americas: case study of social entrepreneurship”. As an accomplished violinist founded the Dominican Trio, which has been devoted to programming Aquino’s own compositions as well as transcriptions of Latin-American music.
He studied composition at the Conservatoire National du Strasbourg in France with Italian Maestro Ivan Fedele. Later he was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Florida International University (FIU) Symphony Orchestra in the United States, under the baton of Maestro Grzegorz Nowak, where he graduated with a Master in Orchestral Conducting and was distinguished by unanimous vote of the faculty with the “Graduate Performer Award”. Aquino has been selected to participate in many international conducting master classes with maestros such as Jose Serebrier, David Effron, Colin Metters, Ramon Tebar, Neil Varon, James Judd, Mark Gibson, Enrique Garcia Asensio and Eduardo Marturet.