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About this Piece

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Miguel del Aguila received his B.A. from the San Francisco Conservatory and then spent the next ten years studying and working in Vienna. He returned to the U.S. in 1992, living and working in Southern California. His work list now runs up to Op. 104 and includes three operas and three concertos among his numerous stage and orchestral pieces, as well as choral, chamber, and solo keyboard music.

Salón Buenos Aires was composed in 2005 for a consortium of the Cactus Pear Music Festival in Texas, the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in Wisconsin, and Music in the Vineyards in Napa, California. Camerata San Antonio’s recording of the work has been nominated for a Latin Grammy.

The composer has written the following note:

“In three movements, Salón Buenos Aires is a nostalgic musical trip to 1950s Buenos Aires. The music conveys the general mood of this period of great prosperity and optimism that preceded the social collapse of the 1970s at the hands of militaristic regimes. Numerous South American dance forms are used throughout the work, from carefree Brazilian samba rhythms to old-fashioned melodramatic tangos and milongas (the milonga was an Uruguayan dance that preceded the tango). After a bright, upbeat first movement, the following ‘Tango to Dream’ starts in dark mystery. It slowly transforms into a gentle lullaby, which then acquires a tango rhythm that culminates in a fully-fledged, passionate tango theme, only to dissolve into the mystery of the opening. In the final movement, a milonga rhythm is distorted into irregular patterns, churning obsessively. Underneath the effervescence of this movement there is tension and angst.”

John Henken is Director of Artistic Planning for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.