Known for his charismatic energy and musical versatility as a conductor, composer and violinist, Darwin Aquino’s career has taken him to orchestra halls and opera theaters across Europe, United States and Latin America. His constant presence as a Latinx artist in multiples stages is seen as a bright light for diversity, equity, and inclusion in classical music.
Recently appointed Conductor for the New Works Collective with Opera Theater of St. Louis and Music Director of the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra, Darwin’s 23/24 season also includes a number of national and international engagements. He has been selected as guest conductor for the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the St. Louis Ballet (Giselle) and the Chamber Music Society; guest composer for the San Francisco Civic Orchestra (Lunga Pandemia for orchestra) and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Heredia in Costa Rica (Latin American premiere Concerto for Violin, Strings and Percussion).
During the 22/23 season, Darwin was invited to conduct the premiere of D. Cimarosa’s “Il Matrimonio Segreto” for the Florida Grand Opera, in his own Spanish translation. Other recent appearances include guest conductor for the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, the Ashland Symphony Orchestra in Ohio and the Caribbean Lyric Festival; plus performances of his compositions with the Juilliard School in New York City, the Illinois Modern Ensemble at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Latin American Music Festival in Venezuela, and the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City.
Darwin has enjoyed regular engagements around the world, including the Philharmonishes Staatsorchester Mainz, Saarländisches Staatsorchester in Germany, The Cleveland Opera, National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, ADCA Symphony Orchestra in New York, Chicago Summer Opera, Filarmónica Boca del Rio in Mexico, Caribbean Lyric Festival, Missouri Festival for the Arts, Alfredo Saint Malo Festival Orchestra in Panama, FIU Symphony Orchestra in Miami, among others. He has also cover conducted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Youth Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Americas (OA).
As a composer, Darwin’s most celebrated orchestral composition, Espacio Ritual, had its European premiere by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France during the Festival Presences. The Latin American Collegium of Composers invited Aquino as their youngest member for his outstanding achievements in composition. He is a three-time recipient of the National Music Prize in composition in his country, a winner of the Musici Mojanesi composition prize in Italy, and his works have been published by Ars Publica in Europe and Cayambis Music Press in the USA.
Additionally, he also serves as Conductor-in-Residence for the Washington University Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Gateway Festival Orchestra’s Summer Seasons.
Darwin held the position of Music Director for Winter Opera St. Louis (2016-2019), Director of Orchestral Studies University of Missouri St. Louis (2017-2021), Assistant Conductor Florida Grand Opera (2015-2017), Director National Conservatory of Music Dominican Republic (2016-2017), Assistant Conductor Palm Beach Symphony (2014-1016), Composer in Residence Dominican National Symphony Orchestra (2008-2010), Artistic Director El Sistema DR (2004-2016), and holds a masters of music degree in orchestral conducting from the Florida International University, studying with Gzregorz Nowak.
Darwin has also received conducting coaching with, notably, Colin Metters, David Effron, Enrique Garcia Asensio, Benjamin Zander, Ramon Tebar, and has assisted Leonard Slatkin, Patrick Summers, George Manahan, Gemma New, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Benjamin Zander, Daniela Candillari and Rory McDonald, among others.
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