peermusic classical
Miguel Del Aguila  |  Worklist  |  Audio  |  Reviews  |  Discography  | 
Opera: Time and Again Barelas  |  Salon Buenos Aires CD
Miguel Del Aguila

Miguel Del Aguila

A composer of "turbulent fantasy" (Odessan Press, Ukraine), Miguel del Aguila has been hailed by critics as "a spontaneous creator" (El Pais, Montevideo) "armed with a distinctive compositional voice" (Los Angeles Times)and "a fine sense of direction and drama" (American Record Guide). Reviewers have found his music "unusual...superb" (Fanfare), "of obsessive vitality" (Wiener Zeitung, Vienna), "wonderfully expressive" (American Record Guide), "remarkable, strikingly rhythmic" (Der Landbote, Switzerland), and, no less, "thrilling and ghastly" (Kleine Zeitung, Austria). More:

"His Concierto en Tango is a 20-minute rhapsody with outer sections of sinuous, tuneful, lively, pretty-nearly-danceable tango music led by the solo cello. A long central cadenza gives the cellist a more spot-lit chance to shine. His Concierto is catchy, sensuous, rhythmically stimulating, and colorful (it includes prominent parts for piano, harp, and marimba along with the solo cello)."
--American Record Guide, Sept. 2015

". . . from fabulous use of percussion instruments (including a wind machine), devilishly difficult cross rhythms and a clever exploitation of the instruments of the orchestra – everybody had something exciting to play. This piece really grabbed you by the throat and commanded your attention for twelve minutes."
-- Lyn Bronson, Peninsula Reviews, Jan. 2013, reviewing Conga for orchestra

"Miguel del Aguila’s 'The Giant Guitar' was very powerful in its depiction of revolution, using folkloric themes to build a fierce and touching tonal picture of a peasant revolt."
--Richard Storm, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

About the CD "Salón Buenos Aires" (Bridge Records): "Latin American music is what animates Miguel del Aguila’s chamber works on Camerata San Antonio’s insightful rollercoaster through pieces spanning nearly a quarter of a century – a thrills-and-spills journey undertaken with evident affection. The insouciant toungue-in-cheekery of 'Presto II', and glittering caprice of 'Charango Capriccioso' act as preludes to the love-letter title track. . . 'Clocks' is a piano quintet shot through with tick-tocking inventiveness and the odd flight into whimsy."
-- Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine (June 2010)

. . . "sounds, at first, like idiosyncratic pop, and it touches on jazz and salsa before morphing briefly into a slow, lush Viennese dance, then back to speedy jazz."
-- Allan Kozinn, the New York Times, November 2005, on Conga-Line in Hell for large chamber ensemble.

Recent and Upcoming Events

9/23/15 --
2015 Latin Grammy Nomination for "Concierto en Tango"
Best Contemporary Classical Composition
Recorded by the Buffalo Philharmonic
with its principal cellist Roman Mekinulov,
conducted by JoAnn Falletta.

Purchase here.

Performances of "Concierto en Tango":

Roman Mekinulov, cello
Matthew Kraemer, cond.
Erie Chamber Orchestra
Erie, Pennsylvania

Cesar Bourguet, cello
Miguel Salmon del Real, Conductor
Orquesta Sinfónica de Michoacán
Joe Johnson, cello
William Eddins, conductor
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Edmonton, Canada

Albany Symphony Orchestra
Roman Mekinulov, cello
JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Albany, New York

Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Roman Mekinulov, cello
JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Newport News and Norfolk, Virginia
(premiere of solo string quartet and orchestra version)
Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Orquesta Sinfónica de la UANL
Jesús Medina, conductor
Nuevo León, Mexico

Norma Aparicio, cello
Orquesta Sinfonica Municipal de Caracas
Rodolfo Saglimbeni, conductor
Caracas, Venezuela

(premiere of viola and orchestra version)
Nicoló Eugelmi, viola
Guillermo Figueroa, conductor
Music in the Montains Festival Orchestra
Music in the Mountains Festival
Durango, Colorado



Two-time Grammy nominated American composer Miguel del Aguila was born 1957 in Montevideo, Uruguay. In more than 100 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 by some 60 orchestras, by hundreds of ensembles and soloists, and recorded on 30 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 from 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, contributed new works, and wrote a weekly music column for the Chautauquan Daily.

In 2005 he began a two-year Composer in Residence position with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, made possible by a Meet the Composer/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 Meet the Composer 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. Other labels that have recorded his works include Naxos, Dorian, Telarc, New Albion, Albany, Centaur and Eroica.


Video introduction to the CD "Salon Buenos Aires"

To Miguel del Aguila's home page