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Agustín Fernández

Born in Bolivia in 1958, he studied composition in La Paz with Alberto Villalpando and in Japan with Takashi Iida and Akira Ifukube. In 1984 he moved to the United Kingdom, studying for an MMus at Liverpool University and for a PhD at City University.
An early career singing and playing the charango at folk clubs ended when his voice broke in the early 1970s, at which point he turned his attention to classical music (Brahms's Trio op. 40 was responsible for this). In 1975 his orchestral work Rapsodia won the national composers' competition marking the 150th anniversary of Bolivia's independence. He paid his way through university studies at Bolivian Catholic University by teaching harmony at the National Conservatoire and playing with the National Symphony Orchestra, reaching the position of principal viola. In Japan he worked at the Bolivian embassy and taught Spanish to trainee JOCV volunteers. In the UK he was for four years Composer-in-Residence at Queen's University, Belfast, where the Job included the chairmanship of the Sonorities Festival. A lectureship at Dartington College of Arts was followed by an appointment in 1995 as lecturer in composition at Newcastle University, followed by that of Senior Lecturer and, from August 2007, Chair in Composition. He regularly returns to Bolivia for performances, workshops and other teaching engagements.
Fernández has featured in numerous international festivals, such as Focus (New York), Summergarden (New York), London International Opera Festival, Sonorities (Belfast), Huddersfield Festival, Encontro de Compositores e Intérpretes (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), Jornadas Musicales de Música Contemporánea (Bolivia), International New Music Week (Bucharest), Barcelona Festival of Song, Septiembre Musical Tucumano (Argentina), and many others.

Foto © Grover Hinojosa


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