the music of Miguel del Aguila

long bio


Three-time Grammy® nominated American composer Miguel del Aguila was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. In more than 120 works that couple drama and driving rhythm with nostalgic nods to his South American roots, he has established himself among the most distinctive and highly regarded composers of his generation.  His music, which enjoys several hundred performances a year, has been hailed as “brilliant and witty “(The New York Times), “sonically dazzling” (Los Angeles Times), “with irresistible rhythms… disarmingly genial." (San Francisco Sentinel), “widely exuberant...exquisitely imaginative...absolutely mesmerizing” (Fanfare), and “expressive and dramatic” (American Record Guide).

His multicultural background gives his works an international appeal and presence with worldwide performances by nearly a hundred orchestras, thousands of ensembles and soloists, and forty five CD recordings. This list includes Welsh BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Winnipeg and Edmonton Symphonies, Kiev Philharmonic, Odessa Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Heidelberg Philharmonic, Codarts Symphony Rotterdam. Orquesta del Principado de Asturias, Sinfónica National de Mexico, Filarmónica de la ciudad de México, Sinfónica do Estado de Sao Paulo OSESP, Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas,  Orchestra of the Americas, Sinfónica de Puerto Rico and National symphonies of Costa Rica and of Panama. US orchestras include Nashville Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony,  Albany Symphony, as well as Santa Fe, San Antonio, Long Beach, Virginia, Memphis, Omaha, Santa Barbara, Sarasota, Spokane, New Mexico, Chautauqua Symphonies; and Brooklyn; Louisiana, Rhode Island and Sacramento Philharmonic orchestras.

Artists who commissioned, premiered or performed his works include conductors: JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Gerard Schwarz, Jorge Mester, Guillermo Figueroa, David Allan Miller, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Lukas Foss, Andrew Litton, Eckart Preu, Rodolfo Saglimbeni, Ken Masur, José Luis Novo, Jose Arean, and Maximiano Valdés;  as well as ensembles: Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Windscape, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, SOLI, Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players, Mannes American Composers Ensemble MACE, New Juilliard Ensemble, Camerata de las Americas, Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble, Collegium Novum Zürich, Kammerensemble Classic der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Imani Winds, Pacifica Quartet, Fifth House Ensemble, Quatour Alcan, Harlem Chamber Players, EntreQuatre, Pentaèdre, Arianna, Invoke, and Verona Quartets, WindSync, Olmos, and Onix a well as guitarrist Manuel Barrueco, clarinetists Richard Stoltzman and Wenzel Fuchs (Berlin Philharmonic) and tenor Rafael Dávila among many others.

Recent and upcoming CD releases include his Broken Rondo (Luisiana Philharmonic/Carlos Miguel Prieto/Johanna Cox, Albany); Miami Flute Suite (Nestor Torres, Naxos), Giant Guitar (Norwegian Radio Orchestra/Miguel Harth-Bedoya); an all-del Aguila orchestra works CD (Augusta Symphony/Dirk Meyer); and CD releases of his music by The Annex Quartet, Q-Arte Quartet/J.Vinasco and Acuarimántima. Recent and upcoming performances include his Concierto en Tango by Newark Symphony and National Symphony Orchestra of Panama; Violin Concerto by Santa Fe Symphony/Nir Kabaretti, Sphinx Virtuosi US tour featuring his Life is a Dream, EntreQuatre world tour featuring his Presto a Cuatro, WindSync tour featuring Wind Quintet, as well as performances, premieres and/or composer residences by Orchestra of the Americas, Fresh Ink Festival, Connecticut Summerfest, Talis Festival, Avedis Chamber Music Series, Eastern Music Festival, Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest, New Hampshire Music Festival, Saarburg Festival, Music in the Vineyards, Festival Internacional Cervantino, Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva, and Chelsea Music Festival.

Other festivals who featured his works include: Aspen Music Festival, Breckenridge Music Festival, Cabrillo Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Chautauqua Summer Festival, 
Music in the Mountains, Chicago Latino Music Festival, Hear Now Festival,  Michigan City Chamber Music Festival, South Bay Chamber Music Society, Summergarden and Focus! In the US and abroad: Alpen Kammermusik Festival, Bregenzer Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen and Vienna Summer Music, Austria, Budapest Spring Festival and Kortárs Zenei Festival Hungary, Festival Antena 2, Lisbon, Festival de Música de San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Festival de Música de Santa Catarina, Brazil, Festival de Música contemporánea de La Habana, Festival Saint Malo, Festival Música Nova do Santos, Gau Festival, South Africa, Prague Spring International Festival, Czech Republic, Saarburg Festival and Zurich New Music Festival.

Del Aguila’s training and early professional experience took place in Uruguay, the U.S. and Europe. After graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of  Music he traveled to Vienna, where he studied at the Universität für Musik un Darstellende Kunst and Konservatorium der Stadt Wien. Early premieres of his works in Vienna’s Musikverein, Konzerthaus and Bösendorfer halls won him praise from audiences and press who described his music as “dancing with incendiary rhythms,” with “near to obsessive vitality" (Wiener Zeitung). While still living in Vienna, he introduced his piano works in New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall. Days later, Lukas Foss led the U.S. premiere of Hexen with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. CDs containing five of his works were released on KKM-Austria and Albany Records in 1989 and 1990.

Aguila returned to the U.S. in 1992, settling on the West Coast. Soon thereafter he was hailed by Los Angeles Times "one of the West Coast's most promising and enterprising young composers." and by San Antonio Express-News as “One of the more intriguing compositional voices to come along in recent years“.

He received the prestigious Kennedy Center Friedheim Award in 1995, and was music director of Ojai Camerata 1996 to 1999. In the 1990s his works were first performed at Lincoln Center, London’s Royal Opera House, and in Moscow, Vienna, Zurich, Budapest, Prague, Tokyo, and Rome. From 2001 to 2004 del Aguila was Resident Composer at the Chautauqua Music Festival, where he performed as pianist and contributed several new works each year.

In 2005 he began a two-year Composer in Residence position with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, made possible by a New Music USA/Music Alive Award. His residency culminated in the fully-staged premiere of his third opera Time and Again Barelas. He was honored with a New Music USA Magnum Opus/Kathryn Gould Award in 2008, resulting in the orchestral tone poem The Fall of Cuzco, which was performed by The Buffalo Philharmonic, and by Nashville, Virginia, Sao Paulo State, and Winnipeg symphony orchestras. He received the Lancaster Symphony Composer of the Year Award 2009, as well as awards from The Copland Foundation and the Argosy Foundation among others. 

In 2010 he was honored with two Latin Grammy nominations, for the CD Salón Buenos Aires (five chamber works on Bridge Records) and for the composition Clocks from that album. In 2015 he received a third Grammy nomination for his cello concerto: Concierto en Tango which, within two years after its premiere received 26 orchestra performances worldwide. Other labels that have recorded his works include Naxos, Dorian, Telarc, New Albion, Albany, Centaur and Eroica.  

A sought after guest as lecturer, educator, music advisor and curator, he recently served as judge for United States Artists Fellowships and Camino de la Fe competition, he serves on Editorial Committee for Cayambis Music Press, and recently led master classes and short residencies at University of Michigan, University of Illinois, Vanderbilt and Lynn Universities, University of Arkansas, Eastern Washington University, Texas A&M University and Universidad Nacional and EAFIT University in Colombia.
His music is published by Peermusic Classical, Theodore Presser and self-published. 

"...elegant and affectionate music ...a delicious send-up of Minimalism ...with genuine wit.." - The New York Times


"...irresistible rhythms… powerfully propelled by frantic tempos..." - San Francisco Sentinel

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short bio

Miguel del Aguila and Guillermo Figueroa rehearsing opera:

TIME AND AGAIN BARELAS

biography

Three-time Grammy® nominated American composer Miguel del Aguila was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. In more than 120 works that couple drama and driving rhythm with nostalgic nods to his South American roots, he has established himself among the most distinctive and highly regarded composers of his generation.  His music, which enjoys several hundred performances a year, has been hailed as “brilliant and witty “(The New York Times), “sonically dazzling” (Los Angeles Times), “with irresistible rhythms" (San Francisco Sentinel), “exquisitely imaginative” (Fanfare), and “expressive and dramatic” (American Record Guide).

His multicultural background gives his works an international appeal with worldwide performances by nearly a hundred orchestras, thousands of ensembles and soloists, and forty five CD recordings. 
This list includes commissions, premieres and performances by Welsh BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony; Albany, Santa Fe, San Antonio, Long Beach, and Virginia Symphonies, Kiev Philharmonic, Odessa Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Heidelberg Phil, Codarts Symph, Orquesta del Principado de Asturias, Sinfónica National de Mexico, Filarmónica de México, Sao Paulo’s OSESP Symph, and Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas among many others.

Conductors of his works include JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Gerard Schwarz, Jorge Mester, Guillermo Figueroa, David Allan Miller, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Lukas Foss, Andrew Litton, Eckart Preu, Rodolfo Saglimbeni, Ken Masur, José Luis Novo and Maximiano Valdés;  and ensembles: Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Windscape, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, SOLI, Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players, Mannes MACE Ensemble, New Juilliard Ensemble, Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble, Collegium Novum Zürich, Kammerensemble Classic, Camerata de las Americas, Imani Winds, Pacifica Quartet, 5th. House Ensemble, Pentaèdre, Arianna, Invoke, and Verona Quartets, WindSync, and Onix.  Soloists who premiered and recorded his works include Manuel Barrueco, Richard Stoltzman, Berlin Philharmonic’s Wenzel Fuchs and Rafael Dávila among others. 

Recent and upcoming CD releases include his Broken Rondo (Luisiana Philharmonic/Carlos Miguel Prieto/J. Cox); Miami Flute Suite (Nestor Torres), Giant Guitar (Norwegian Radio Orchestra/Miguel Harth-Bedoya); and an all-del Aguila orchestra works CD (Augusta Symphony/Dirk Meyer).

2018-2020 orchestra performances include Newark and  Santa Fe Symphonies, National Symphony of Panama, Orchestra of the Americas and Sphinx Virtuosi; residences at Fresh Ink, Connecticut Summerfest and Talis Festivals; as well as performances at Avedis Chamber Music Series, Eastern Music Festival, Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest, New Hampshire and Saarburg Festivals, and Festival Internacional Cervantino, 


International festivals like Aspen, Breckenridge, Cabrillo, Ravinia, Oregon Bach Festival, Chautauqua, Music in the Mountains, Summergarden, Focus!, Alpen Kammermusik Festival, Bregenzer Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen, Vienna Summer Music, Prague Spring, Saarburg, and Zurich New Music Festivals; Budapest Spring Festival, Festival de Música de San Miguel de Allende, Festival de Santa Catarina, Festival Música Nova do Santos, and Gau Festival, have often featured his music. 

Aguila’s training and early professional experience took place in Uruguay, the U.S. and Europe. After graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of  Music he traveled to Vienna, studying at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst and Konservatorium der Stadt Wien. Early premieres of his works in Vienna’s Musikverein, Konzerthaus and Bösendorfer halls won him praise from the press who described his music as “dancing with incendiary rhythms,” with “near to obsessive vitality" (Wiener Zeitung). In 1989 he introduced his works in New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall. Days later, Lukas Foss performed his Hexen with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and soon after CDs with his works were released in Austria and the US. Aguila returned to the US West Coast in 1992 where he was soon hailed by Los Angeles Times as "one of the West Coast's most promising young composers." and by San Antonio Express-News as “One of the more intriguing compositional voices to come along in recent years“.


He received the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award in 1995, was music director of Ojai Camerata 1996- 1999 and Chautauqua Festival’s Resident Composer 2001- 2004. 
In 2005 he received a New Music USA/Music Alive Award for a two-year residency with New Mexico Symphony which ended with the premiere of his opera Time and Again Barelas. 2018 he was honored with a New Music USA Magnum Opus/Kathryn Gould Award for his Fall of Cuzco, which was performed by The Buffalo Philharmonic, Nashville, Virginia, Sao Paulo State, and Winnipeg symphony orchestras. He received the Lancaster Symphony Composer of the Year Award 2009, The Copland Foundation and the Argosy Foundation awards among others. 

In 2010 he received two Latin Grammy nominations, for his CD Salón Buenos Aires, and for his work Clocks and in 2015 a third Grammy nomination for his Concierto en Tango. His works can be heard on Naxos, Dorian, Telarc, New Albion, Albany, Centaur and Eroica releases.  

A sought after guest lecturer, educator, music advisor and curator, he served recently as judge for United States Artists and Camino de la Fe awards, as editorial advisor for Cayambis Music Press, and has led short residencies and master classes at Universities of Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, Eastern Washington, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Lynn Universities, and at Universidad Nacional and EAFIT Universities in Colombia. His music is published by Peermusic Classical, Theodore Presser and self-published. 

"...outstanding composer... The music of Miguel del Aguila leaves no one indifferent..." Dina Mukhamedzyanova, Music of Russia

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"An internationally recognized compositional voice and talent, Miguel del Aguila creates fresh, spontaneous music often colored by Latin and World Music idioms, and with a healthy respect for the classical tradition and form. What results is a captivating interplay of classical balance and romantic excess. His penchant  for devising programs for his own works further enhances his highly dramatic style in which musical ideas, always simple and recognizable, are pushed to extremes by propulsive rhythms and adventurous instrumentation" Todd Vunderink, Peermusic