“My music emerges from the heart of Caribbean rhythms and chants. We are a creative mixture of cultures – an explosion of sounds, colors, and imagination. It has always been my universe, my poetic vision of the world… “
Darwin’s most celebrated orchestral composition, Espacio Ritual, had its European premiere by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France during the Festival Presences, resulting in glowing praise from La Musique au Jour le Jour: “Aquino has very well listened to the French composers, Boulez or Varese, developing in this piece a deeply personal language and an inventive mastery for writing to the orchestra”.
Other orchestral works have been performed by international ensembles such as Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz, Saarländisches Staatsorchester in Germany, The Orchestra of the Americas, Santo Domingo Music Festival Orchestra, Filarmónica Boca del Rio in Mexico, Washington University Symphony Orchestra, Música Sacra Philharmonic, Dominican National Symphony Orchestra, FIU Symphony Orchestra in Miami and the National Symphony Orchestra of El Salvador.
Between 2018 and 2020, Aquino’s new music has had exceptional recognition alongside five commissions and world premieres by the Florida International University (Concerto for violin, strings & percussion), Chamber Project St. Louis (Redescubrimiento for 6 instruments), Women Hope Chorale (La Vida es Bella for female chorus, piano, violoncello and percussion), University of Michigan’s percussion studio (Aee Mama Si Ee for solo percussion) and the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Latin American Collegium of Composers invited Aquino as their youngest member for his outstanding achievements in composition. He was invited to Cuba as one of the judges and guest composer for the top Composition Prize Casa de las Americas. A frequently performed composer worldwide, his chamber music has been selected to be performed at the North South Consonance in New York, New Music ISCM in Miami, Latin American Music Festival in Venezuela, SMASH Salamanca in Spain, Mannes College of Music, EAFIT University in Colombia, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, International Forum of New Music in Mexico, Universidad de Costa Rica, Alfredo de Saint Malo Festival in Panama, among others.
Aquino studied composition at the Conservatoire National du Strasbourg in France with Italian maestro Ivan Fedele and served as composer in residence for the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic. During his career he has received the Musici Mojanesi Composition Prize in Italy, three National Composition Prizes and two Academic Composition Prizes in his homeland. His music has been published by Ars Publica Edizioni in Italy, Cayambis Music Press in the USA and Gothic Full Score in Santo Domingo. For many years he served as Professor of Composition and Director of the New Music Ensemble at the University of Missouri St. Louis.