2022 William Thomas McKinley Memorial
About The Commissioned Composer
Nicolás Aguía is a composer from Bogotá, Colombia. Aguia received two bachelor’s degrees: one in music from Sergio Arboleda University and one in Philosophy from the Pontifical Xavierian University. He received his M.M in Music Theory and Composition from New York University (Steinhardt), and has studied composition with Ricardo Márquez Romero, Ezequiel Viñao, Eric Moe, Amy Williams, and Mathew Rosenblum. Ensembles and performers such as Sonia Diaz, the JACK Quartet, TAK Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, Loadbang, Duo Cortona, Duo Jacarandá, Bearthoven and Sonic Apricity have performed his music in the United States, Italy, and Colombia. In August 2021, the Orfeo Choir from Bogotá premiered an evening length work titled “The American Poetry Choral Cabaret”, a collaboration with transdisciplinary artist Alfonso José Venegas. It is a choral song cycle and performative art piece that sets texts of different American poets from the 18th and 19th century, including: Walt Whitman, Phillis Wheatley, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Frances Ellen Watkins. “The American Poetry Choral Cabaret” won the Small Grants Project sponsored by the United States Embassy in Colombia. He received the “Premio Especial” for his String Quartet “Melismas Espectrales” in the Second String Quartet National Composition Competition of Colombia, in 2020. His musical style is characterized by pulsating rhythms and prolonged harmonic fields that change gradually and conceives form as an extension of the rhythmic patterns and melodic motives used to structure his works. Aguia also explores heterophonic textures, expanding musical material through the gradual ornamentation of a main melodic line. He was a Composer Fellow at the Alba Composition Festival in 2019 and composer in the Artist in Residency Program at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, he is pursuing his Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Pittsburgh.