Derek has travelled the world studying, performing, and teaching – including time spent in Ghana (Ewe traditional drumming) Cuba (Folkloric Batá studies), Spain (Walking the Camino de Santiago), Italy (Atina Jazz Festival 2011), Switzerland (Drumming mentorship with Julio Davalos), Banff (Artist Residency), New York City (Private studies with Roman Diaz), and Washington (Betty Carter Jazz Ahead).
In 2008, Derek founded the Hand Drumming in the Schools program in which he voluntarily travels to schools in the greater Toronto area and facilitates hand-drumming workshops for students of all ages. In the summer of 2009, Derek travelled to Ghana to study traditional West African hand drumming, and over the course of two months, completed an Ethnomusicology course at University of Ghana. He also studied West African percussion with master drummers Kwasi Dunyo and Ledzi Agudzemegah in Dagbamete, a village in the Volta Region.
Over the past few years, Derek has received a number of awards, including Humber College's President's Medal for leadership, the Garfield Weston National Level Scholarship for leadership, the SABIAN Cymbals Award + Scholarship, the George McCrae Award for musical excellence, and the Principal’s Award for Student Leadership. In the spring of 2011, Derek was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency in Washington, DC. Working alongside talented young musicians/composers from around the world, this two-week long program culminated in performances on the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Centre. Derek has studied privately with Mark Kelso, Steve Mancuso, Julio Davalos, Roman Diaz, Doug Sole, Don Vickery, Dan Weiss, Clarence Penn, Nate Smith and Larnell Lewis. He has performed with: Pat LaBarbera, Ingrid Jensen, Dave Holland, Tony Malaby, Vincent Herring, David Buchbinder, Jorge Miguel, Esmeralda Enrique, amongst many others.
Derek would like to thank MOPERC, SABIAN, Yamaha, and Vater for the instruments he plays.
Derek extends his deepest gratitude to the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts for their support.
Derek will be performing at our upcoming Cantos Libres, September 30th, 2017 at Casa Maíz. 1280 Finch Avenue West.