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Miguel del Aguila

Seattle, WA         

Three-time Grammy nominated American composer Miguel del Aguila was born 1957 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 as one of the most distinctive and highly regarded composers of his generation.  His music has been performed worldwide by nearly 100 orchestras, by thousands of ensembles and soloists, and recorded on 43 CDs. Del Aguila’s training and early professional experience took place in both the U.S. and Europe. After graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of  Music he traveled to Vienna, where he studied at the Hochschule für Musik and Konservatorium. 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. Del Aguila returned to the U.S. in 1992, settling in the Los Angeles area. Soon thereafter the Los Angeles Times described him as “one of the West Coast’s most promising and enterprising young composers.” 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, commemorating Albuquerque’s tricentennial. 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 has been 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 has already been scheduled 26 orchestra performances worldwide. Other labels that have recorded his works include Naxos, Dorian, Telarc, New Albion, Albany, Centaur and Eroica.  His music is published by Peermusic Classical and Theodore Presser. – 8/2018

SALON BUENOS AIRES – (Movement III: Obsessed Milonga)

From piano sextet SALON BUENOS AIRES, it portrays a nostalgic musical trip though 1950’s Buenos Aires. A time of prosperity and optimism that preceded the collapse of the 1970’s in the hands of militaristic regimes. The mood is set by numerous South American dance idioms; from carefree Brazilian Samba rhythms to melodramatic tangos and milongas. The milonga rhythm here is distorted into irregular patterns as its beat drives the piece from the good spirited lightness of the beginning to an out of control obsessive finale

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THE FALL OF CUZCO for orchestra (ending)

The work loosely follows the events that led to the collapse of the Inca Empire. It recreates my fantasy of a mystical place and time and gives a voice to those who were silenced. The underlying theme here is greed and its destructive power. After a wild chase Pizarro captures Atahualpa and demands a room filled with gold to release him. The closing bars of the piece depict this mountain of gold, blinding, seductive and overwhelming while heralding at the same time the re-birth of a new, prosperous and powerful América.

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BROKEN RONDO for English horn and orchestra (ending)

A one movement English horn concerto where a simple, upbeat theme of Andean character dialogues and flirts with several cadenzas, arabesques and other dance motifs until it is finally overwhelmed by one of these motifs and it falls apart dissolving into darkness. The word “broken” suggests here not only the break of the rondo form, but it also implies an unexpected deep emotional struggle stemming from an event that breaks and fractures the piece and changes things forever. The clip is that of the somber ending of the piece.

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