DARWIN AQUINO (1979)
Dominican conductor and composer seen internationally as one of the top rising Latin American artists, in both symphonic and opera fields. Aquino is enjoying a vibrant career after winning the prestigious Premio Soberano award as Successful Dominican Artist Abroad. For the 2017-2018 season he has been appointed Music Director for Winter Opera St. Louis in the United States of America. Other international activities includes Guest Conductor for the Philharmonishes Staatsorchester Mainz in Germany, Saarländisches Staatsorchester in Germany, National Symphony Orchestra of Panama and Camerata Washington Heights in New York. Aquino has been selected by the world famous Italian tenors “Il Volo” to conduct part of their Latin-American concert tour and is also Music Director of the Musica Sacra concert series in the Dominican Republic.
During the past years Aquino has been invited to conduct the Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, FIU Opera Theater, Filarmónica Boca del Rio in Mexico, Alfredo de Saint Malo Festival Orchestra in Panama, among others. He has worked with soloists such as Rachel Barton Pine, Robert Davidovici, Maria Kanyova, Kemal Gekic, Jorge Pita Carreras, Shari Mason and Roland Baldini, being the first conductor in his country to premiere Anton Bruckner’s symphonies.
In 2015 he 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 joined Aquino 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.
Some of his international prizes include: “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).
Aquino’s compositions have premiered in the last couple of years by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Mainz Philharmonic Orchestra in Germany, Santo Domingo Music Festival Orchestra, Dominican National Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica Boca del Rio in Mexico, National Symphony Orchestra of El Salvador and Música Sacra Philharmonic. His chamber music is frequently performed at international festivals such as Festival Presences in Paris, New Music ISCM in Miami, Latin American Music Festival in Venezuela, SMASH Salamanca in Spain, Las Americas in Concert at the Mannes College of Music, International Forum of New Music in Mexico and North South Consonance in New York.
Deeply interested in music education and social transformation through classical music, Aquino has served as Director of the National Conservatory of Music, Music Director of the National Youth Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the “Sistema” in his homeland the Dominican Republic. Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of the world-known Venezuelan Sistema, refers to Darwin as “a great conductor, excellent composer and eminent violinist. A pioneer for classical music”. The Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA) chose him as founder violinist, guest conductor and composer, for many concert tours throughout the Americas and for special performances at Carnegie Hall.
For his outstanding work with the Latin American musical youth was elected as Dominican 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”.
Aquino 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, working with Maestro Grzegorz Nowak, where he graduated with a Master in Orchestral Conducting and was distinguished with the “Graduate Performer Award”. Aquino also served as cover conductor for Maestro Ramon Tebar at the Florida Grand Opera and Opera Naples (“Barber of Seville”, “Don Pasquale”, “Norma”, “Carmen”, “La Boheme”).
In 2017 the University of Missouri St. Louis has distinguished Aquino appointing him as full time faculty with the “Director of Orchestral Studies” position, where he conducts the University Symphony Orchestra and the New Music Ensemble.