Praised by the New York Times for his “beautifully shaped and carefully nuanced singing” Derek Chester, tenor, quickly established himself as a preeminent interpreter of early music, oratorio repertoire and a teacher of the vocal arts. He is an avid performer across North America and occasionally Europe with recent concert appearances including Handel’s Jephtha with Ars Lyrica Houston, Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Colorado Symphony, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Handel Society of Dartmouth, Haydn’s Creation with Pacific Chorale and Orchestra, a reconstruction of Bach’s St. Markus Passion with Barokksolistene of Norway; Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with Boston Baroque and the Bach Collegium San Diego; Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the Berkshire Choral Festival, Britten’s War Requiem with the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.2 the “Lobgesang” with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and all the major works of Bach with American Bach Soloists and orchestras across North America and Europe.
Though his career is concentrated primarily in concert work, Dr. Chester is expanding his work on the operatic stage, with theater credits including Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Mack the Knife in Three Penny Opera, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, Peter Quint in Turn of the Screw, and Oronte in Alcina. Recent roles include Alesandro in Cavalli’s Eliogabolo with West Edge Opera and Acis in Acis and Galatea with the Staunton Music Festival.
Chester received his bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Georgia and his Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance on full scholarship from the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music. As a Fulbright Scholar, he spent a year in Germany working as a freelance musician and furthering his training. While maintaining an active performing career, Dr. Chester received his DMA in Voice Performance and Opera Studies with full scholarship and a graduate teaching fellowship from the University of North Texas, with a dissertation on the juvenile song compositions of Samuel Barber.
Chester recently left a ten year post as tenured voice and early music professor at the University of Northern Colorado pursue full time performance.