Derek is a singer, songwriter, and composer based in the Ottawa area. He is primarily a composer, having not studied any instrument at a post-secondary level, but is a capable singer as well as a passable guitarist. His interests involve experimental art music, and his specific influences include a wide range of artists, from the classical modernists of Charles Ives, Claude Debussy, and Igor Stravinsky, to the mid-20th century experimentalists John Cage and Earle Brown, all the way into modern and ongoing artists such as Nirvana, Bright Eyes, and The Tragically Hip.
Derek's early life involved singing as a boy soprano for the Opera Lyra Boys Choir, as well as participating in numerous musical and operas, such as Oliver Twist and Carmen. As an adult, Derek pursued a career as a folk singer/songwriter in the Kingston area, as well as attending St. Lawrence College in Kingston, where he graduated with distinction in the Music and Digital Media program. After being introduced to music theory and composition there, he moved to the Ottawa area and became a music student at the University of Ottawa. There, he completed an Honours Bachelors of Arts with a Specialization in Music, and is currently pursuing a Master's of Arts in Music at the same institution, with a focus on composition.
Derek is passionate about engaging and convention-breaking music, particularly aleatory and chance music, as well as participatory and cross-media performances. His musical pieces often involve experimentation and participation, involving elements such as graphic notation, mobile form, audience input, and multiple endings. As a relative outsider to the western art music tradition, Derek has a unique perspective on music, and tries to infuse the direct and simple nature of folk music as well as the personal and emotive style of popular music into his creations. This gives his music an undeniably unique character that intrigues and comforts a wide variety of audiences and demographics.