Derek Charke is a composer, a flutist, and an associate professor of music at Acadia University in Nova Scotia.
Dr. 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 his work Sepia Fragments. Commissioned and performed by world renowned artists such as the Kronos Quartet, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Katona Twins guitar duo, 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.
Described as inventive, rich textured, full of colour, imbued with drama and rhythmic vitality, he creates music with a depth and intensity that often include moments of extraordinary tranquility. Ecological sound, field recordings, and electronic sound play important roles in many of his compositions, as does a long-standing fascination with the Arctic.
Derek Charke 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, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (Esa-Pekka Salonen, Music Director), the National Flute Association, the Canadian Music Centre, the Radio Starmaker Fund, and the British Columbia Arts Council, 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 is also a professional flutist. He earned his Masters degree in flute performance from SUNY Buffalo where he studied with the late Cheryl Gobbetti Hoffman. Recent performances have included improvisatory work with ensembles like subText in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He continues to freelance where and when time permits.