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March 2012
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About Derek

I currently work back and forth between Los Angeles and Beijing as a freelance composer and also as an associate composer/arranger for the Beijing Dance Drama & Opera.

How did I get here? Growing up in Houston, I started studying violin at age eight with Bingsun Yang, once the concertmaster of the China National Symphony Orchestra. Ten years later, I decided I hadn't the nerves to continue performing on stage, so I went for the opposite musical occupation: composing, where you sit in your cave, eat microwavable foods, and create to your heart's satisfaction.

I learned how to do all three things while studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Music Recording Minor at the University of Southern California, where I was fortunate enough to collaborate with uniquely awesome students on over 40 short films, a variety of TV themes for the campus TV station, and many other projects, including for Sony, Hewlett-Packard, and American Apparel. I won a few awards and honors too. May of 2010, I graduated a year early, and since then I've been doing the same thing, but bigger and better! Everything's in the Project List.

A particularly nice highlight of my experience was the chance to work as Randy Newman's (you know, Oscar and Grammy-winning composer/singer/songwriter - that one) technical assistant on The Princess and the Frog and Toy Story 3. And Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Eureka, and Walking Dead fans, I interned for Bear McCreary. He is a genius. "So say we all."

Along with composing, I also edit, mix, and master my own scores. What's one to do? We're all on shoestring budgets these days.

I have a few pieces I consider classical, just so I can call myself slightly, infinitesimally legit, as opposed to a complete-sellout-unserious-this-isn't-real-music-film-composer. They've been premiered at downtown Houston's Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, performed by members of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Symphony, and choreographed to by Houston Ballet II.

The end. For now.

Credits

  • The Walking Dead

    The Walking Dead (2011)
    Television Music Intern

  • Toy Story 3

    Toy Story 3 (2010)
    Film by Disney/Pixar Technical Assistant to Composer

  • The Princess and the Frog

    The Princess and the Frog (2009)
    Film by Walt Disney Animation Technical Assistant to Composer

Awards

  • Best Original Score, Southern California Business Film Festival
    (2012)

  • Best Original Score, Southern California Business Film Festival
    (2011)

  • Best Original Score, Southern California Business Film Festival
    (2010)

Education

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