Miguel del Águila

“outstanding composer… The music of Miguel del Aguila leaves no one indifferent”
Dina Mukhamedzyanova, Music of Russia

“irresistible rhythms… powerfully propelled by frantic tempos pleasantly demented piece… disarmingly genial” 
San Francisco Sentinel

Biography (short)

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

Biography (long)

Three-time Grammy® nominated American composer Miguel del Aguila was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. In more than 125 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, recorded 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.

Del Aguila is 2020 Composer in Residence with Orchestra of the Americas and with Alfredo de Saint Malo Festival. 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 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.

Premiere of SILENCE

Miguel del Aguila and violinist Yue Deng rehearsing for Los Angeles premiere of SILENCE

L.A. Phil. chamber performance - Disney Hall

Miguel del Aguila with Alejandro Carreño and Joanne Pierce Martin rehearsing SALON BUENOS AIRES for Los Angeles Philharmonic series at Disney Hall

CONGA at Cabrillo Festival

Miguel del Aguila with Marin Alsop and Michael Daugherty at Cabrillo Music Festival talking about performance of  CONGA

Grammy Nomination 2015

Miguel del Aguila and Dionne Warwick at Grammys 2015 nomination event for CONCIERTO EN TANGO

Miguel del Aguila - 2020 Composer in Residence
Orchestra of the Americas Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor
Miguel del Aguila with fellow BMI composers
Back cover of Symphony Magazine 2020 and 2021 Musical America Annual Directory

Miguel del Águila on YouTube

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