Biography

Known for his charismatic energy and musical versatility as a conductor and composer, 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 Dominican artist in multiples stages is seen as a bright light for diversity and inclusion in classical music.

Recently appointed Music Director of the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra and Assistant/Cover Conductor for Opera Theater of St. Louis, Darwin’s 22/23 season includes a number of international engagements. He will be conducting the premiere of D. Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto for the Florida Grand Opera in his own Spanish version, the New Works Collaborative for Opera Theater of St. Louis; guest conductor for the St. Louis Ballet (Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour); the Latin American premiere of his Concerto for Violin, Strings and Percussion with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Heredia in Costa Rica, and a commission to compose a new work for Chamber Project St. Louis. Also for the 22/23 season, Aquino has been selected to conduct the first ever musical collaboration of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) and the Washington University Symphony Orchestra.

Other recent appearances include guest conductor for the Missouri Symphony Orchestra (MOSY), 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 Music Director of the Gateway Festival Orchestra and Conductor-in-Residence for the Washington University Symphony Orchestra.

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), 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, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and has assisted Leonard Slatkin, Patrick Summers, Gemma New, Ramon Tebar, Benjamin Zander, and Rory McDonald, among others.

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