Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: Miguel del Aguila

9/11 was an important landmark in my life, and a date that had already changed it before. I moved to NYC in 2000 during a time of personal change. I was traveling when it happened and returned to the city two days after the event. I will never forget the sight of those huge building reduced to rubble, the smell of the still burning underground fire, the feeling of loss and tragedy. NYC was never the same after 9/11, nor was my life there. In 2003 I moved back to California. I also remembered that some 20 years ago, on a 9/11 around 9am another tragic event changed the lives of Chileans and all Latin Americans. That event eventually caused my having to immigrate to the USA.
I'm always amazed at how easy it is to destroy things. How hard it is to create them, and how strong our will is to constantly rebuild what we ourselves (humanity), break. doesn't make much sense, does it?

Miguel del Aguila
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.
Two-time Grammy nominated American composer Miguel del Aguila was born 1957 in Montevideo, Uruguay. His prolific music output and distinctive musical style has placed him among the most highly regarded composers of his generation. He came to the attention of European audiences in 1983 when his Messages premiered at Musikvereinsaal, the home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Soon performances at Konzerthaus and Bösendorfer Hall followed, marking the beginning of an international career that spans over two decades. In 1987 Peermusic published his first works eventually incorporating most of Aguila’s works to their catalogue. American audiences embraced Aguila’s music in 1988 as he introduced his piano works at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall; and days later, Lukas Foss premiered his Hexen with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. KKM-Austria and Albany Records-NY took notice releasing in 1989/’90 two CD’s with five of his works.
During the 1990’s Aguila’s list of works grew as did the number of his recordings, performances and honors which by 1995 included the prestigious Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. Performances at NY’s Lincoln Center, London’s Royal Opera House, and in Moscow, Vienna, Zurich, Budapest, Prague, Tokyo, Rome and other major capitals, begun a decade of expansion and growth. After residing in Vienna for ten years, Aguila returned to the US in 1992 making California his home. Before long Los Angeles Times critics welcomed him as "One of the West Coast's most promising and enterprising young composers." During this time he founded and directed the young musicians group Voices, and became music director of Ojai Camerata (1996-1999).
In 2001 New York’s Chautauqua Festival invited him as Resident Composer where he remained until 2004 contributing with new works, performances and literary articles. In 2005 Aguila accepted a two year Composer in Residence position with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, through a Meet The Composer - Music Alive Award. This marked the start of an intensively creative period that culminated with the fully staged premiere of his opera Time and Again Barelas, commemorating Albuquerque’s tricentennial.
By 2008 first rate orchestras, ensembles and soloists were regularly commissioning and performing his works worldwide. They included almost fifty orchestras, over two hundred chamber ensembles and soloists in virtually every country in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Currently Aguila’s catalogue reaches over a hundred works for all genres. His music is widely available on twenty one CD’s released by Bridge, Dorian, Telarc, New Albion, Albany, and Centaur among others .
Recently, Aguila was honored by the Recording Academy with two Latin Grammy nominations for his CD Salon Buenos Aires and for his composition Clocks. He also received the MTC Magnum Opus Award 2010, the Lancaster Symphony “Composer of the Year Award 2009”, the Peter S. Reed Foundation Award 2008, MTC Magnum Opus Award 2008, as well as awards by The Copland and Argosy Foundations among others. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with post graduate studies at Vienna’s Hochschule für Musik and Vienna Konservatorium.
His busy 2011 season includes performances at St. Martin in the Fields and Deutschen Oper Berlin and premieres by Nashville, Puerto Rico, Virginia, Buffalo. Memphis and Winnipeg symphonies among others.

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