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 Aquino

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 Aquino

Listen to the most recent recordings of Darwin’s music!

Responsabilidad for Bass Clarinet

Lunga Pandemia for Orchestra

Concert for Violin, Strings & Percussion

Aee Mamá Si Ee – solo percussion

Click on the titles to read about each composition, watch videos or listen to audio samples.
For a full catalog of compositions by Darwin Aquino, please click here.


Lunga Pandemia

Dedicated to the Ashland Symphony Orchestra

What a long pandemic this has been for all of us.  When I first heard the news that the Ashland Symphony Orchestra’s in person concerts were back, the inspiration to compose an original piece to commemorate this very special occasion took a hold of me.  A deep felt thanks to the ASO for kindly receiving this new work.

In music, Lunga refers to what we know as fermatas which at times welcome those sudden pauses in music. This notion immediately captured my attention as a symbol of how our regular lives were stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Afterwards, I thought to myself how I could recreate the spread of a virus inside an orchestra. And so, the writing began.

Lunga Pandemia is divided in two larger sections where each one has two internal parts: First dose (I – The Air / II -Loneliness) and Second dose (III – A Masqued Ball / IV – Finale?). All the musical material is connected from the beginning to end.

The Air represents how the rapid spread of COVID came silently towards us. Starting as a quiet heartbeat that is embodied by the bass drum, it raises its speed as a menacing solo violin transforms the texture of the entire orchestra. This sonic journey takes us from a restful unison to massive dissonances. As the virus is now with us, the piece moves into Loneliness where a tubular bell noisily explodes letting us know that the air has been compromised.  This is followed by a Caribbean nostalgic dance led by a tender English Horn solo. This solo is a reminiscent of how my family in the Dominican Republic has always been in my heart during this pandemic.

I remember how we all abruptly started to wear masks. Which brings us to A Masqued Ball – an ugly and poignant dance which I hope makes you feel uneasy. It evolves into a sarcastic waltz where we can hear some citations to one of my favorite works: C. Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre. Death is now all around us, but the English Horn solo comes back trying to convince us that all has passed, and we are safe.

Short and filled with an energetic outburst, the last section Finale? reminds us that the pandemic is still far from being over.  All previous musical ideas and themes are now combined with Dominican folkloric rhythms that bring out new Latin colors which are further enhanced using exotic instruments like the African Drums and the Güira de Metal (Steel Guiro).

I hope you enjoy this work. I wish every one of you the very best during the ongoing pandemic!

Darwin Aquino, St. Louis, MO August 18, 2021

Espacio Ritual

A synthesis of ritual and popular Afro-Dominican music collides in this powerful piece for large orchestra. Expressive textures captured from the musical diversity of our island (palos, gaga, salves, congos) culminate in the sonic recreation of a Dominican ritual festivity.

Una síntesis de música ritual y popular afro-dominicana colisiona en esta poderosa obra para gran orquesta. Expresivas sonoridades tomadas de la diversidad musical de la isla (palos, gaga, salves, congos) culminan en la recreación imaginaria de una festividad ritual dominicana.

“[…]Apresar una visión poética, la transformación de los grandes clichés en una contemporaneidad. Es una visión del universo sonoro de todos los tiempos conviviendo en un mismo instante[…]”

(Leo Brower, Cuba)


Click here to see the manuscript for “Espacio Ritual”


A brief folkloric overture dedicated to the Youth Orchestra of the Americas in its visit to Santo Domingo. This exuberant work keeps on Aquino’s former orchestral pieces, “Congofonía” and “Espacio Ritual”. The bucolic sounds of palos, gaga, congos and sarandunga are combined in two sections, divided by a tender solo trumpet. A ritual minimalism advancing from the clarinets brings the piece to a fiery end.

Buy or rent it at Cayambis Music Press »

Una breve obertura folklórica dedicada a la YOA—Orquesta de las Américas en su visita a Santo Domingo. Esta exuberante obra se desprende de las anteriores piezas para orquesta de Aquino, Congofonía y Espacio Ritual. El sonido bucólico de los palos, gaga, congos y sarandunga son combinados en dos secciones, divididas por un tierno solo de trompeta. Un ritual minimalista que inicia en los clarinetes lleva la obra a un intenso final.

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In memoriam Sixto Minier, leader of the Congos

Congofonía is inspired in the Caribbean musical expressions of the Congos of Villa Mella Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit, a bucolic African community in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Their music, known as Congo, is based on simple ostinato structures played with rustic percussion instruments accompanying a repetitive plainchant. The orchestration also exhibits sonorities from the Gagá (Dominican- Haitian music) and the Rará (Haitian).

En memoria de Sixto Minier, Capitán de los Congos

Congofonía esta inspirada en las expresiones musicales caribeñas de la Cofradía del Espíritu Santo de los Congos de Villa Mella, una comunidad Africana y rural en Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana.  Su música, conocida como Congo, se basa en patrones repetitivos de instrumentos de percusión muy rústicos que acompañan un canto llano. La orquestación despliega a su vez sonoridades del Gaga (música Dominico-Haitiana) y Rara (música Haitiana).


The plot behinds this imaginative piece is autobiographical. A young composer can’t sleep because is unable to express the vast musical ideas on his mind. Battling with insomnia, finally he falls into the deepest dream depicted by the roaring of the violoncellos to wake up transformed. Music now flows but insomnia has not disappeared. A final joyful dance based on his dream liberates the composer.

La trama detrás de esta fantástica pieza es autobiográfica. Un joven compositor lucha con el insomnio al no poder expresar la gran cantidad de ideas musicales en su mente. Finalmente cae en un sueño profundo, donde los violonchelos imitan ronquidos, para despertar transformado. Su música ahora fluye pero el insomnio no ha desaparecido. De su sueño emana una jovial danza final que lo libera para siempre del insomnio.

Caribe 102 - Strings & Percussion

Caribe 102 / Darwin Aquino
For Strings and Percussion

Percussion 1 (African Drum, Congas)
Percussion 2 (Cowbell, Guira de Metal*)
Percussion 3 (Whistle, Triangle, Rain Stick)

The audio recording of the Dominican Folk Song that is featured at the end of the piece, will be provided by the composer

Program Notes:

Family is everything in life.

Caribe 102 is dedicated to the long and laborious life of my grandfather Geronimo Aquino. He was a farmer for most of his life in a little town called “Baní” in my country, the Dominican Republic. The musical inspiration for this piece comes from an original “Canto de Conuco” (farmer’s chant) from my homeland. It is part of our folklore, and it depicts the fusion of our Hispanic and African cultural heritage.

Why 102? My grandfather was that age when he passed away in January 2021. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was not able to fly to my country to be with my family as I would have wanted to. This is my truthful way to honor his memory, celebrate his life, and thank him for all the sacrifices he made for us.

Let’s talk about the music now! The farmer’s chant melody is from the 1940’s and ties together the entire piece, which is divided into three short sections. At Dawn starts the music with a hesitant dialogue between the strings and the percussion. It is as if a person would not want to wake up to go to work in the morning. This dreamy mood is expressed by a tender solo in the viola and double bass. A sudden shift takes us into the second section, In Land. Now, hard at work, we hear the chant in both a more sensitive and a tougher manner, which rushes to connect with Early Evening: Merengue. This final part is a joyful celebration, created as an improvisatory “fiesta”, that explodes into sound colors of the Caribbean and rejoices in the results of a full day of honest work.

There is a touching and one-of-a-kind surprise at the very end of the piece. I will let you discover it!

Te amo mucho Abuelo. Gracias por todo.

Darwin Aquino, Italy, June 2021

*This work was commissioned by the Fort Zumwalt North High School Orchestra as part of a DIE educational project, highlighting the music and culture of the Caribbean. It was premiered in May 2021*


Concerto for Violin, Strings and Percussion
This new and first Violin Concerto is extremely close to my heart. It celebrates, as many of my pieces since 2007, our Dominican folkloric music (Hispanic and African), but this time with a very special sense of gratitude to my alma mater: the Florida International University School of Music. There I had some of my best musical years and started a life time artistic collaboration with maestro Robert Davidovici, who deeply motivated me to compose this piece.

The first movement “Gracia” (which could mean either “Thanks” or a “Blessing” in Spanish) incorporates some of the most important Dominican percussion instruments, like the Güira de metal and Pandero con parche, in an improvisatory and rhythmical opening around one sound (G pitch). This will become the most significant sonority in the entire piece. After, the violin exposes two main themes, one with energetic double stops and another of a cantabile-ornamented character, which can be heard again in a cyclical way.

The second movement is a slow meditation of an African religious song (Palos), that I devote to the Virgin Mary, by the name of “Aee Mamá si ee”. A female voice inside the orchestra joins a colorful set of percussion mallets (Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Antique Cymbals) to create a soothing spiritual moment. The violin makes variations of this song while connecting naturally with the third movement. This one, entitled “Cadencia: Conciertos Favoritos”, is a brief recollection of some of the most famous Violin Concertos that Davidovici and I did together at FIU (Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Beethoven), using the music of the second movement as a humorous harmonic connection between them.

Finally, we arrive to “Jacana de Colores”. The Jacana dance is part of the ritual complex of “Sarandunga” that can still be found in many places in the Dominican Republic, especially in the south of the Island. It is not my first Jacana as I composed one for solo violin back in 2013, that is used for this fourth movement. This powerful rhythmic is combined with the two main themes of the concerto, plus the “Aee Mamá si ee” song, in a multilayer and incessant texture that collides into a bright final violin cadence to close the work.

Chamber music

Redescubrimiento: A Dominican in St. Louis - Flute, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass

Commisioned by Chamber Project St. Louis

Back to composition! Switching countries is not an easy task. This piece is the first commission that I receive after moving to St. Louis, exactly at the same time where mi work “Sarangunda” (2010) for 8 cellos was finally premiered at the Alfredo de Saint Malo International Festival in Panama.

I take the title of the CPSL concert, “New Encounters”, as point of departure. It is perfect to express this new moment of my life, in all senses. The piece goes back to an incessant rhythm in triads inspired in the Sarandunga (an African folkloric dance from the southwest in the Dominican Republic), which accompanies a brief melody composed with dissonant and consonant motives. A sense of flexibility in the work is felt by numerous changes in tempo, motion, silences, cadences and solos, creating a great interaction between the instruments.

A central conflict in the initial melody take us out from the rhythmic ostinato for a moment and lead us to complete pauses in the sound, inspired in the cozy silence of the city of St. Louis. A back to action, with the Caribbean rhythm and multiple colors in the instruments, remind us of the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic. As recently in my pieces, some percussion instruments are played by the musicians.

My heart is here and there. Thanks to CPSL for believing in me!

Obra Comisionada por Chamber Project St. Louis

De vuelta a la composicion! Mudarse de pais no es nada facil. Es el primer encargo que recibo luego de mudarme a St. Louis, exactamente al mismo tiempo en que mi “Sarandunga” (2010) para 8 violoncellos se estrena finalmente en el Festival Internacional Alfredo Saint Malo de Panama.

Tomo el titulo del concierto de CPSL, “New Encounters”, como punto de partida. Queda perfecto para expresar esta nueva etapa de mi vida, en todos los sentidos. La obra vuelve a un incesante ritmo en triadas que se inspira en la Sarandunga (danza folklorica de herencia Africana del sur oeste de la Republica Dominicana), que acompaña a una breve melodia compuesta de giros disonantes y consonantes. El carácter flexible de la obra se siente a traves de numerosos cambios de tiempo, movimientos, silencios, cadencias y solos, creando una gran interaccion en los instrumentos.

Un conflicto central en la melodia inicial nos saca del ostinato ritmico por un momento y nos lleva a estadios de completa pausa en el sonido, inspirados en el acogedor silencio de la ciudad de St. Louis. La vuelta a la accion, del ritmo caribeño y multiples colores de los instrumentos, nos recuerda a la bella Isla de Republica Dominicana. Como ultimamente en mis obras, algunos instrumentos de percusion son tocados por los musicos.

Mi corazón esta aquí y allá. Gracias del alma a CPSL por creer en mí!

Una Isla, Dos Mundos – Flute and Violin

The Hispaniola island is currently living through a challenging period in its history. This beautiful piece of land in the heart of the Caribbean is on a constant quest for its identity: sometimes a single identity, sometimes split.

In Una Isla: Dos Mundos,I continue my research about the African-based folkloric elements of our island, expanding on the instrumentation by adding percussion instruments to the performer’s lines: bongo, whistle, windchimes, triangle, and cajón. The resulting soundworld is a series of new colors inspired by music from the Gagá and Rará traditions from Dominican Republic and Haiti, respectively.

This work is divided in four sections to be played attaca: Gagá, Ragá, Gára, and Rága, which represent the symbiotic relationship of these two cultural manifestations. Some time ago, when migratory issues in the Hispaniola island became a hot topic, a very simple idea invaded my mind: not all answers need to be spoken in words.

La Isla de la Hispaniola atraviesa actualmente un periodo de retos en su historia. Esta bella porción de tierra en el corazón del Caribe busca constantemente su identidad: a veces una, a veces dos.

En Una Isla: Dos Mundos, continuo mis investigaciones sobre la música folclórica de herencia africana de la isla, expandiendo la instrumentación con el uso de percusión interactiva tocada por los músicos: bongo, pito, cortina, triangulo y cajón. El resultado sonoro nos brinda una serie de colores inspirados en la música del Gaga y Rara, tradiciones de la República Dominicana y Haití, respectivamente.

La pieza se divide en cuatro secciones tocadas sin pausa: Gagá, Ragá, Gára, and Rága, que representa la relación simbiótica de estas dos manifestaciones culturales. Hace un tiempo, cuando los conflictos migratorios de la isla Hispaniola fueron un tema delicado, una simple idea invadió mi mente: no todas las respuestas tienen que ser con palabras.

Read an analysis of this work by Emmanuel Berrido

Siete Cuentos de Juan Bosch - Violin, Violoncello, and Piano
1 – La Mancha Indeleble
2 – Luis Pie
3 – La Nochebuena de Encarnación Mendoza
4 – Los Amos
5 – La Mujer
6 – Dos Pesos de Agua
7 – El Algarrobo

Juan Bosch was a Dominican novelist, storyteller and politician. His imaginative stories are filled with national settings and folkloric characters. This work is divided in seven miniatures based on Bosch’s most famous stories, capturing the emotions of each with a diverse instrumental setting. The principal theme is based on field songs from San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic.

Juan Bosch fue un escritor, novelista y político dominicano. Sus cuentos de gran imaginación están llenos de personajes folklóricos y escenarios típicos. Esta obra se divide en siete miniaturas basadas en sus mas famosos cuentos, capturando las emociones de los mismos variando el formato instrumental. El tema principal es un canto de conuco de San Juan de la Maguana en la Republica Dominicana.

Ountó - Flute and Violoncello

“tumba para el tumbo del agua que retumba parido del tumbo de un tambor” (Manuel Rueda – “Las Metamorfosis de Makandal”) This percussive text inspires the piece, where the flute and violoncello follow improvised percussion patterns of Dominican music displaying extended techniques. Ountó is the spirit of drums in the Voodoo tradition, with its fascinating popular music known as palos and gagá.

“tumba para el tumbo del agua que retumba parido del tumbo de un tambor” (Manuel Rueda – “Las Metamorfosis de Makandal”). La pieza se inspira en este texto percusivo para que junto a técnicas extendidas la flauta y el violonchelo improvisen ritmos de la percusión dominicana. Ountó es el espíritu de los tambores en la tradición Vudú, con su fascinante música popular de palos y gagá.

Lluvia Antillana: a tropicaine kuartet - String Quartet
I – Allegro Moderato II
II – Calmo, expresivo
III – Energico!

Especially composed for an important exhibition of Dominican paintings. The string players alternate also performing folkloric instruments, such as claves, metal guira, pandero y caja. The themes and rhythms of the piece are taken from Hispanic and African music that culminates with a short version of the American song “Singing in the Rain” (1952).

Compuesta especialmente para una importante exhibición de pinturas dominicanas. Los instrumentistas de cuerda alternan para también tocar instrumentos de percusión folklórica, como las claves, güira de metal,  pandereta y caja. Las melodías y ritmos de la obra son tomadas de nuestra herencia Hispana y Africana culminando con una breve versión de la inmortal canción norteamericana “Singing in the Rain” (1952).

Articulata - Violin and Violoncello

In how many ways can the same passage be played? The intention of Articulata is to explore the endless possibilities of altering sound on the stringed instruments. Composed in five contrasting modules, the middle section marked “as fast as possible” resembles a cadenza where the players have lost their mind performing extreme articulations!

De cuentas maneras podemos tocar un mismo pasaje?… la intención de Articulata es explorar las posibilidades infinitas de alterar el sonido en los instrumentos de cuerdas. Compuesta es cinco módulos contrastantes, la sección central “as fast as posible” (lo mas rápido posible) exhibe una cadenza donde los interpretes se han vuelto locos tocando articulaciones extremas!

Sarandunga - Eight Cellos

This work is inspired by the ritual complex of “Sarandunga”, an African musical tradition in the south of the Dominican Republic. It elaborates and synthesizes two special rhythms of the ritual: “Capitana” and “Bomba eh!”, resulting in new sonorities together with the superposition of two religious chants: “San Antonio” (F# Major) and “Mama Sie” (D Major), which become the themes of the piece. The players are challenged to combine singing, percussive effects and instrumental techniques to emulate the folkloric sound of the sarandunga.

La obra se inspira en el complejo ritual de la “Sarandunga”, manifestación musical de herencia africana de la Republica Dominicana. La misma elabora y sintetiza dos ritmos esenciales del ritual: “Capitana” y “Bomba eh!”, aportando una nueva sonoridad resultado de la superposición de dos cantos importantes de la religiosidad popular dominicana: “San Antonio” (fa # mayor) y “Mama Sie” (re mayor), que se convierten en los temas de la pieza. Los interpretes son retados a combinar las técnicas instrumentales con estos cantos: “san antonio eh! Por que yo te quiero san antonio eh…” / “ae mama sie yo monte mi lua…”; acompañados de toques percusivos y sonoridades que emulan el uso de los instrumentos folklóricos en la sarandunga.

Vom Imaginatio Folkloricus - Violin and Violoncello

In memoriam Josue Santana

The title is a combination of words from many cultures that displays the Dominican syncretism. It is a musical journey in four sections portraying the capitana and jacana dance, which connects with funeral music. A Haitian phrase “li retire ma’n chagrin” serves to open the third section as a prelude to Fugagá, a vibrant fugue resembling the powerful music from the Gagá.

En memoria Josué Santana

El titulo nace de una combinación de palabras de varias culturas que manifiestan el sincretismo dominicano. Es un viaje musical que muestra las danzas capitana y jacana, y conecta con música de muertos. Una frase haitiana “Li retire ma’n chagrín” (por que me quita las penas) sirve en carácter para abrir la tercera sección como preludio a Fugagá, una fuga vibrante que emula la poderosa música del Gagá.

Celdas - Horn and Piano

Celdas (“Prison Cells”) describes the spiritual path of an evolving soul that surpasses its inner prison, transcending to complete enlightenment. The piece features spatial writing, extreme sonorities and timbre effects. Natural harmonics for the piano, clusters and changes of textures in the horn, move the piece from fragmentation of motives to a expressive tonal theme at the end.

Celdas describe el camino spiritual de un alma evolutiva que trasciende su prisión interna hacia la iluminación. La obra exhibe escritura espacial, sonoridades extremas y efectos tímbricos. Harmónicos naturales en el piano, clústeres y diversas texturas en el corno transmutan la pieza desde la fragmentación inicial hacia un tema tonal y expresivo en el final.

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
Hervé Konig

Premiere of "Espacio Ritual" by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, La Musique au Jour le Jour


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Darwin Aquino at Cayambis Music Press

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Jacana per Tessitura - Violin

The incessant rhythm of the Jacana dance infuses every passage of this brilliant piece, a Caribbean caprice for solo violin. Sensitive and calm sections are interrupted by rapid changes of register (tessitura). The Jacana is part of the Sarandunga, a ritual celebration in the southwest region of the Dominican Republic.

Es un capricho caribeño para violín impregnado del ritmo incesante de la Jacana, una danza brillante parte de la Sarandunga. Esta ultima es una de las mas importantes celebraciones rituales del sureste de la Republica Dominicana. La obra despliega rápidos cambios de registro (tesitura) que se alternan con secciones de mucha calma.

Responsabilidad - Bass Clarinet

Paraphrased Merengue for Bass Clarinet (2024)

The folkloric music of the Dominican Republic, my homeland, has been capturing my soul for the past 20 years. While I was composing this piece, something new in me emerged: a profound responsibility to continue creating music that conveys my identity.

“Responsabilidad” (“Responsibility”) was written for Alexandra Chea of Arizona State University as part of a commissioning project to divulge new music for the clarinet by Caribbean composers. The piece opens with four notes that go on to gently shape melancholic phrases free of conventional structure that express the longing for one’s homeland. These “free” phrases paraphrase motivic elements of the Merengue, the national dance of my homeland. The introduction, entitled “Paraphrase”, is a musical rendering of those four opening notes which are then transformed in different ways throughout the piece. The melodic phrases are accompanied by unexpected percussive key clicks.

The music evolves into the next section, “Paseo”, an old introduction of the Merengue dance which served as an invitation for couples to gather on the stage floor and dance. The four opening notes now form a dance motive, and the flux and sounds of these vivid melodic passages and rhythms transition to a cadence. This creates an energetic climax to the final section, which incorporates whimsical variants of the “Pambiche”, one of the most popular and accessible Merengue variants. The virtuosity displayed by the performer would make the listener want to join and dance with the rhythm.

As a Caribbean, I could not resist the temptation of adding more percussive sounds! The final Pambiche section is accompanied by stomping feet which makes also perceive the sounds of the homeland that I miss.

Darwin Aquino, St. Louis, MO / March 2024

White Mechanism - Piano

In memoriam Gyorgi Ligeti

White Mechanism was one of the titles selected by Hungarian composer Gyorgi Ligeti (1925-2006) to name his piano studies. Ligeti’s first book of piano studies and string quartet No. 2 are masterpieces designed with exciting ostinato and mechanic structures. The piece is an homage composed at the moment of his death.

En memoria Gyorgi Ligeti

White Mechanism (mecanismo blanco) fue uno de los títulos seleccionados por el compositor húngaro Gyorgi Ligeti (1925-2006) para nombrar uno de sus estudios para piano. Lamentablemente nunca lo utilizó. Su primer libro de estudios para piano.

Aee Mamá Si Ee - Percussion

Este canto de “palos” dominicano ha estado dentro de mi música desde mas de 15 años. Inspiración inagotable, que se transforma y reinventa en distintas obras. La música folclórica de mi tierra es lo que siempre me ha unido a ella en la distancia.

¡Llego el momento de dedicarle su propia obra! Una gran variedad de instrumentos nos presenta un viaje sonoro, lleno de colores y sorpresas, como una manifestación popular. La obra, tocada sin interrupción, se divide internamente utilizando cada letra de su característico titulo.

La introducción que lee Como un Espacio Ritual juega libremente con la melodía del “palo” y nos conduce a Un poco Pa’ lante, donde la acción rítmica y obstinada colocan al interprete y al publico en un momento de exaltación. La entrada sorpresiva de la Marimba nos guía a una sección mas calmada de la obra. Aquí el solista tiene el reto de cantar la melodía original y tocar.

Otra explosiva combinación de instrumentos nos mueve al final de la obra, que se desvanece con improvisaciones del solista. El recuerdo de lo pasado nos invade y retornamos al punto inicial. Como en una fiesta folclórica, todo termina lentamente cuando los músicos dejan de tocar y simplemente deciden irse…

En una nota muy personal, nuestro primer hijo Riccardo nació durante la pandemia cuando componía esta obra. En un pasaje muy especial se oye su canto de cuna. Ojalá algunos de ustedes puedan recordar Hasta Mañana, Si Dios quiere del famoso Topo Gigio.

Darwin Aquino, St. Louis, Missouri – octubre 2021

Subito Papillo - Piano

Subito Papillo
A Tropical Loko Waltz
Para piano (2015)

Watch video on youtube

Componer una obra para un amigo es siempre una gran satisfacción. Eternizar a través de la musica los pequeños momentos de la vida, han sido y serán fuente de inspiración para los creadores.

Fue muy simple: en un ensayo del cuarteto de cuerdas “Piezas para un Ingeniero” del compositor dominicano Emmanuel Berrido, reflexionábamos sobre los piano súbito en su obra. Yo ya le decía a Emmanuel el apodo de “papillo”. En el juego de palabras sorpresivamente surgió “subito papillo”.

Esta humorística miniatura para piano juega con el concepto del piano súbito envuelto en un satírico vals tropical. El interprete utiliza periódicamente el “shh..!” para destacar la dinámica de piano súbito invitando al publico a unirse. Se recomienda se utilice la obra como encore y en ambientes no formales, para que pueda cumplir su misión de divertir.

También le digo “loko” a Emmanuel. Confieso que los juegos de palabras en distintos idiomas y prometer obras a mis mejores amigos han sido una constante en mi vida de compositor.

Espero les guste. “shh!…”
Darwin Aquino, Miami, Septiembre 2015

Latin American Collegium of Composers
Click here to learn more


Cantata para Amansar la Muerte - Soprano, Tenor, Mixed Choir, and Orchestra

In memoriam Carlos Piantini

On Good Friday, Santo Domingo is surrounded by religious music and prayers that will expand the listener’s imagination. These spiritual sounds are set in a Latin-American “folkloric” cantata illustrating the poems of two modern Dominican writers: Leon David (Cincuenta Sonetos para Amansar la Muerte) and Manuel Rueda (Congregación del Cuerpo Unico).

En memoria de Carlos Piantini

Música religiosa y oraciones que abren tu imaginación rodean a la ciudad de Santo Domingo los Viernes Santo. Estos sonidos espirituales se fusionan en el estilo de las cantatas folklóricas Latinoamericanas, para ilustrar poemas de dos escritores modernos dominicanos: León David (Cincuenta Sonetos para Amansar la Muerte) y Manuel Rueda (Congregación del Cuerpo Único).

I – Pasacalle (Andante) II – Santo Entierro (Tranquilo / Procesion / Lento) III – Espiritu Santo (Tempo di congo)​

Read an analysis of this work by Emmanuel Berrido

La Vida es Bella – Female Chorus, Piano, Violoncello and Percussion

Commissioned by the Women’s HOPE Chorale of St. Louis; Leanne Magnuson Latuda, Artistic Director

Based on Gabriela Mistral’s poem “Decalogue of the Artist”

 “La Vida es Bella” (Life is Beautiful) was specially composed to celebrate love, women, beauty and art. Inspired in the invigorating rhythm of the Merengue (the national dance of my country, the Dominican Republic), this music brings to life Mistral’s sensitive texts concerning the existence of an Artist. The piece starts with an extremely calm and flexible atmosphere announced by the Triangle, where the Piano extends our perception of time, accompanying an expressive Violoncello solo with sustained sonorities. Two mezzosoprano solos open a soft dialogue with the poem main words, as a preamble to the first “a capella” intervention of the Chorus.

From here the music builds continuously in excitement, passion and energy, incorporating some Caribbean percussion instruments like the Claves and Pandero con Parche (Tambourine).  A ravishing “Jaleo” (main section of a Merengue) brings us to the culmination of this dance, now revealing the original song in which the work is inspired. It is the Merengue I danced with my beloved wife Benedetta Orsi in the day of our wedding in the Dominican Republic. This music is dedicated to her honoring all the beauty that she has brought to my life.

Perfume - Mezzo-Soprano and Piano

Two modern Dominican poems from writers Altagracia Saviñon and Carmen Martinez Bonilla are the basis for three songs: “Las Flores”, “Eternidad Cansada” and “Mi Vaso Verde”, which are connected. The texts are combined to declaim issues about existence and death. Perfume, flower and water serve as symbolism. Two glasses of water stroked by the singer with pitches C# and A enrich the sonorities of the last song.

Dos poemas modernos dominicanos de las escritoras Altagracia Saviñon y Carmen Martínez Bonilla inspiran tres canciones: “Las Flores”, “Eternidad Cansada” y “Mi Vaso Verde”, que se conectan. Los textos se combinan para expresar inquietudes sobre la existencia y la muerte. Perfume, flores y agua son los símbolos. Dos copas de agua que producen las notas Do sostenido y La, tocadas por la cantante, enriquecen la sonoridad de la ultima canción.

Como un Vestido Ajeno - Soprano and Viola

A very subtle poem from Dominican poetess Carmen Martínez Bonilla serves as inspiration for this work. A special tuning on the lower strings of the Viola supports the expressive Soprano song, which deals about our existence: “My life is like a borrowed dress”. Continuing the song cycle, “Perfume” (2013, for Mezzo-soprano and Piano), this piece alternates between Viola solos and voice passages being executed in many different ways.

Un delicado poema de la escritora Dominicana Carmen Martínez Bonilla sirve de inspiración para la obra. Una afinación especial en las cuerdas graves de la Viola acompaña el expresivo canto de la Soprano, el cual habla sobre nuestra existencia: “Mi vida es como un vestido ajeno”. Esta canción continua mi ciclo “Perfume” (2013, para Mezzo-soprano y Piano), alternando entre solos de Viola y pasajes vocales llenos de variedad interpretativa.