Derek Charke is a JUNO and ECMA award-winning composer and flutist. He has been commissioned by 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. Derek is a professor of composition and theory at Acadia University, he co-directs the Acadia New Music Society, and he continues to perform regularly as a new music performer and improviser on the flute. Although his music tends to defy categorization it has been described as post-modern and post-minimal, inventive, rich textured, full of colour, and imbued with drama and rhythmic vitality. Sepia Fragmentsfor the St. Lawrence String Quartet won the 2012 JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year. Reel Variations on a Jig (as performed by Mark Adam & himself) and Between the shore and the ships (as performed by Helen Pridmore & Wesley Ferreira) won East Coast Music Awards in the same category. His Kitchen Party CD, featuring himself and percussionist Mark Adam, won the 2015 ECMA Award for Classical Recording of the Year.
Many of his works explore environmental topics. Tangled in Plastic Currents for cellist Jeffrey Zeigler (former cellist of the Kronos Quartet) deals with the plastic clogging our ocean. Symphony No. 1 ‘Transient Energies’ for Symphony Nova Scotia explores a soundscape of energy production. Falling from Cloudless Skies for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra focuses on a soundscape of ice. Warning! Gustandoes Ahead for the National Flute Association deals with destructive nature of wind. In the Falling Dark 1, commissioned by Musikon (Halifax, NS) for pianist Barbara Pritchard, is about dusk, or twilight; known in French as ‘Entre Chien et Loup’. The sequel In the Falling Dark 2 was composed for pianist Jennifer King. Oikos/Ecos for soprano Janice Jackson is a commentary on our state of affairs. Disturbances of Circadian Rhythm for flutist Chenoa Anderson deals with sleep patterns. Song of the Tides, one of his earlier works in this vein, was commissioned in 2006 by Mark Hopkins for the Acadia University Wind Ensemble and is featured on the recent Acadia New Music Society CD, Live Wired.