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Miguel del Aguila

Seattle, WA         

Three-time Grammy-nominated American composer Miguel del Aguila is among the most distinctive and highly regarded composers of his generation, with over 120 works that couple drama and driving rhythm with nostalgic nods to his South American roots. His music, recorded in 45 CDs, has been hailed as “brilliant and witty” (The New York Times), “sonically dazzling” (Los Angeles Times), and “exquisitely imaginative” (Fanfare).

Aguila has been commissioned or performed by over 100 orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the symphonies of Toronto, Nashville, Seattle, Albany, San Antonio, Long Beach, and Virginia, and the Welsh BBC; the Philharmonic Orchestras of Heidelberg, Kiev and Odessa; the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, and the Sinfónica Nacional and Filarmónica de México; by ensembles such as Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Windscape, New Juilliard Ensemble, Camerata de las Americas, Imani Winds, Fifth House Ensemble, and the Pacifica and Verona Quartets. He has collaborated with conductors such as JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Gerard Schwarz, David Alan Miller, Lukas Foss, Eckart Preu, and Ken Masur; and with soloists Manuel Barrueco and Richard Stoltzman among many others.

He has received a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award and both a Music Alive Award and a Magnum Opus/Kathryn Gould Award from New Music USA. He was Lancaster Symphony’s 2009 Composer of the Year, and has won grants from the Copland and Argosy Foundations.

Born in Uruguay in 1957, Aguila received musical training there, and at the conservatories of San Francisco and Vienna. After winning acclaim as pianist and composer in Vienna, he re-established himself in the U.S. in 1989 with a program of piano music at Carnegie Recital Hall and the premiere of Hexen by the Brooklyn Philharmonic conducted by Lukas Foss. He returned to California in 1992; soon thereafter the LA Times called him “one of the West Coast’s most promising young composers”.

A sought-after lecturer, curator and educator, Aguila is a frequent competition jurist and guest composer. He is 2020 Composer in Residence with Orchestra de las Americas and with Festival Alfredo de Saint Malo. His music is published by Peermusic Classical and Theodore Presser, and is self-published

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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