Dr. Derek Charke
Composition & Theory

PhD SUNY Buffalo
MMus SUNY Buffalo
MMus Royal Academy of Music
BMus University of North Texas



164 Denton Hall
Acadia University
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada B4P 2R6
T: (902) 585-1270
F: (902) 585-1037


Derek Charke is a JUNO and ECMA award-winning composer and flutist. He has been commissioned by world-renowned artists including the Kronos Quartet, Toronto Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, St. Lawrence String Quartet, and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, as well as an impressive list of other performers and organizations.

His work Sepia Fragments, commissioned for the St. Lawrence String Quartet, won the 2012 JUNO award for Classical Composition of the Year. Two of his works, Reel Variations on a Jig (as performed by Mark Adam and himself) and Between the shore and the ships (as performed by Helen Pridmore and Wesley Ferreira) won East Coast Music awards in the same category.

Many of his works explore environmental issues. For example, Tangled in Plastic Currents for cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, muses on the plastic clogging our ocean. His 45-minute Symphony No. 1 ‘Transient Energies’ for Symphony Nova Scotia, explores a soundscape of energy production sounds.

He has written many pieces for the flute, including a popular series of flute quartets including Raga Cha, Raga Saat and Raga Nau. More recently his Wired series was created to feature solo instruments — so far there are works for solo flute, alto saxophone, trumpet, horn, bassoon, and wind quintet. Each work contains a middle movement called ‘AND’ that plays with a disjunct, but lyric ‘endless’ chromatic melody.

As a professional flutist, he continues to perform regularly as a new music soloist and improvisor. A CD ‘Kitchen Party’ with fellow Acadia faculty member Mark Adam won the 2015 ECMA award for Classical Recording of the Year.

Dr. Charke teaches courses in composition, contemporary music, and theory.