Derek Charke’s music is recognized as an important and original contribution to the Canadian music scene. He won the 2012 JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year for ‘Sepia Fragments’ and the 2013 ECMA Award for Classical Composition of the Year for ‘Between the Shore and the Ships’. Additionally, two of his works, ‘Blizzard’ and ‘Between the Shore and the Ships’, are included on the ECMA Award-winning Best Classical Recording of 2013.
Although Derek’s music tends to defy categorization, it has been described as inventive, rich textured, full of colour, imbued with drama and rhythmic vitality, and including a wealth of diverse emotions. Casting a broad horizon, his music encompasses both familiar modal harmonies, melody, and a strong rhythmic pulse in conjunction with modernist techniques: serialism, a fragmented syntax, and the use of extended instrumental techniques. Ecological sound, field recordings, and a long-standing fascination with the Arctic are also important to his music.
Derek has received numerous grants and commissions, and has worked with some of the leading new music specialists including world renowned artists like the Kronos Quartet, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq Gillis. His music has been heard in prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, Roy Thomson Hall, and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Dr. Charke is an Associate Professor of Music at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He teaches courses in composition, theory, orchestration, and contemporary music. He is Co-Director of the Annual Acadia New Music Festival Shattering the Silence, an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre, and a member of the Canadian League of Composers. In 2010 Derek was a Distinguished Guest Composer at the Winnipeg New Music Festival, and a Guest Composer for the 2010 Newfound Music Festival. He has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Nova Scotia (Communities, Culture and Heritage), SOCAN Foundation, CBC Radio, Radio Canada, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (Esa-Pekka Salonen, Music Director), among others. As well, What do the Birds Think? garnered a special mention from the Kubik Prize, and his work Xynith won him a BMI student composer award in New York City.
Derek’s composition teachers included David Felder, Louis Andriessen, Steve Martland, and Cindy McTee. He held a prestigious four year Presidential Fellowship at SUNY Buffalo, as well as a NUFFIC grant from the Dutch government to study with Louis Andriessen. He attended the University of North Texas (during which he received the Outstanding Student in Composition Award, and the David M. Schimmel Memorial Composition Scholarship); the Royal Academy of Music in London, England; the Koninklijk Conservatorium in the Hague, Netherlands; and the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he received his Ph.D. in composition. He participated in various composition workshops such as the June in Buffalo Festival, the Array Music Young Composer workshop, the Sonic Boom Festival in Vancouver, and held a summer composers residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
As a professional flutist he continues to perform regularly as a new music soloist and improvisor. He is a member of subText, and performs as a duo with percussionist Mark Adam. He earned his Masters degree in flute performance from SUNY Buffalo where he studied with the late Cheryl Gobbetti Hoffman.
Derek Charke was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, but he grew up in Surrey, British Columbia. He also lived in Hanoi, Vietnam (for two years during grades 5 and 6); Denton, Texas (during his undergraduate degree); London, England and the Hague, Netherlands (during further composition studies); Inuvik, Northwest Territories (the Arctic), and in Fort Erie and Toronto, Ontario (during his studies in Buffalo). He now resides in Nova Scotia (the Annapolis Valley) where he continues to actively compose while teaching composition at Acadia University in Wolfville (about one hour from the city of Halifax).
For more information visit www.charke.com