My name is Derek Weagle (they/them). My mission as a human is healing. My medium as an artist is sound. My core values are equity, gratitude, and radical transparency. I believe that learning and unlearning are lifelong endeavors. The foundation of my practice is syncretism — the artistry of composition, healing, conducting, language, performance, and teaching play equal roles in my identity. My commitment to caring for each and every facet of myself is unyielding. Growth is always augmented by community, and I’m deeply grateful for mine.
As a synesthete, my compositional approach centers on unique confluences of shape, color, and image. Any number of my fascinations from floral print to urban design, liminal zones to water, birdsong to queerness, spirituality to tintinnabulation, can be found in my creative output.
Musician/Educator/Wearer-of-Many-Hats Derek J. Weagle (they/them) is a Brooklyn-based artist and healer invested in the disruption of social and academic barriers around classical music, as well as the preservation of music-making as an act of joyful humanness. With a practice rooted in syncretism, Derek can be found equally comfortable in roles ranging from conductor to composer, performer to teacher. They hold a B.M. in Music Education from UMass Lowell and an M.M. in Composition with a minor in Choral Conducting from New England Conservatory, as well as a Certificate in Sound Healing from the Sage Academy of Sound in Woodstock, NY. Current engagements include work as an independent Sound Healing Practitioner; Associate Conductor of the Queer Urban Orchestra; Assistant Conductor of Choral Chameleon; Artistic Director of the Adelphi University Vocal Ensemble; Founding Artistic Director of Bloom Sound Collective; Composer & Owner at Risanare Music; Board of Directors for the Refugee Orchestra Project. Their work as a composer has received recognition both nationally and internationally, including the American Prize in Composition, The International Horn Society, and the International Composition Competition Harelbeke. For more information on Derek’s artistic practice and services offered, see their website at www.derekjweagle.com.
Brooklyn-based composer/conductor Derek J. Weagle (they/them) invested in the disruption of social and academic barriers around classical music, as well as the preservation of music-making as an act of joyful humanness. Uniting a wide variety of style, tradition, and ritual into a single experience, their compositions span both vocal and instrumental idioms and relates to professional, avocational, and educational ensembles and audiences alike. Significant projects include the premieres of Earthrise Mass (2015), Serenade (2016), a companion piece to Britten’s work premiered in Boston’s historic Jordan Hall, Assembly (2017), commissioned for the Sesquicentennial of New England Conservatory, and Water Rites (2019) co-commissioned by Choral Arts Initiative and Choral Chameleon through their educational institutes. Serenade received Honorable Mention by the International Horn Society in their 2018 annual composition call. Their cycle for wind ensemble titles Abendlieder is a finalist in the 2022 Harelbeke International Composition Call and will be premiered in May 2023 in Belgium.
In Summer of 2020, Derek was appointed assistant conductor of Choral Chameleon, contributing to the ensemble’s multidisciplinary projects pairing choral music with food and textiles during an all-virtual season. In 2022, they co-led the creation of the world’s first choral sound bath, entitled Washing. Serving an audience of over 400 people and receiving critical acclaim, this program will see several reprise performances with presenters around the Northeast during the 2022-2023 season. Derek is also on faculty at Adelphi University on Long Island, directing their select Vocal Ensemble. Within the first year of their leadership, the ensemble tripled its roster and expanded its range of repertoire to span over 600 years.
Also a seasoned administrator, Derek has served in academic, operational, and programming roles at The New School College of Perforing Arts, the League of American Orchestras, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and the Univeristy of Massachusetts Lowell. For four years, Derek held a dual role with the UMass Lowell String Project and Lowell Youth Orchestra conducting the top-tier Sinfonia ensemble with students aged 8-18, and serving as the organization’s Program Manager. Since January 2021, they have served on the Board of Directors of the Refugee Orchestra Project.
In addition to their composition and conducting work, Derek currently freelances as a vocalist throughout New York City and maintains a private practice as a sound healer, leading group sound baths as well as working with 1-on-1 clients. They are also an avid ‘conlanger’ (constructor of languages) and has created languages for novels, video games, and other media projects. Several of their languages have been featured in original compositions, most notably Water Rites.
Derek holds a B.M. in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and an M.M. in Composition with a minor in Choral Conducting from The New England Conservatory as a student of Michael Gandolfi and Erica Washburn; they are also a graduate of the Sage Academy of Sound receiving their certificate in sound healing.