Richard Derby

Composer

Richard Derby

  
Richard Derby has a Ph.D. in music composition from the University of California Santa Barbara.  In 1977‐78 he held a Fulbright Fellowship to study composition with Justin Connolly at the Royal College of Music, London.  In 1982 his article “Elliott Carter’s ‘Duo for Violin and Piano’ “ was published in Perspectives of New Music.  A Cambria Master Recordings CD of his chamber music is available from Southwest Chamber Music (swmusic.org).  Recent music is posted at soundcloud.com/richardderby.

By the age of four Richard was listening intently to Beethoven (the “Appassionata”), Richard Strauss (Till Eulenspiegel), Tchaikovsky and other classical composers and already knew he himself would eventually become a composer.  Once the family acquired a piano Richard began taking piano lessons at the age of 10 and started experiments in writing down his original music.  By the time he was a teenager Richard was absorbed in 20th-century music.  Favorite composers included Vaughan Williams and Bartók.  At age 16 Richard ordered Robert Craft’s recording of the complete music of Anton Webern (hard to acquire even in those days) and embarked upon an intensive study of Webern’s music.  At 18 he wrote “To Everything There Is a Season” for his high school choir.  The choir performed it at a festival, the adjudicator sent it to her publisher (Lawson-Gould) and it was published two years later.

As a university student Richard gradually became convinced that Elliott Carter’s music solved many of the problems that contemporary composers were grappling with.  While teaching at the College of Creative Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara during his graduate degree studies, Richard put together a course for his students on Carter’s music.  The university was able to bring Carter to speak on campus in April 1976.  Over the course of his long life Carter continued to correspond with Richard and proved to be a supportive friend.

Rather than teach at a university, Richard followed the “Charles Ives route,” earning a living for himself and his family in various jobs in business and composing as time permitted.  His music has been performed by the orchestra at the Royal College of Music, London, by Southwest Chamber Music, by the Lyris String Quartet, by the orchestra at the University of California Irvine, by Mary Palchak, by Maggie Parkins and by various church choirs.   In 2017 Richard retired from his career in information technology and is now pursuing composition full time.  He is on the board of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Composers USA and sings in his church choir.


William Schuman, Richard Derby, Edward T. Cone - BMI Awards to Student Composers 1975
"Playing the piano", age four.
Publications

To Everything There Is a Season (SATB a cappella).  New York, NY: Lawson-Gould Music Publishers L.G. Co. 51574. 1971

Adoramus Te and Resurrexi (SATB a cappella).  New York, NY:  Lawson-Gould Music Publishers  L.G. Co. 51739.  1974

“Elliott Carter’s Duo for Violin and Piano”.  Perspectives of New Music 20 (1981-82): 149-68.

“Elliott Carter’s Visit to the University of California Santa Barbara, April 16, 1967”.  Elliott Carter Studies Online vol. 1 (2016).

CD Recording

“Quintet for Flute, Strings and Piano”, Duo for Horn and Piano”, “Soliloquy for Solo Horn”.  Southwest Chamber Music Composer Portrait Series.  Cambria Master Recordings 8805.  Released in September 2000

Degrees

1973    Bachelor of Arts from the University of California Santa Barbara

1978    Doctor of Philosophy in music composition form the University of California Santa Barbara

Awards

1969-73          California State Scholarship

1969-73          University of California Santa Barbara Regents Scholarship

1972                Second prize, class II, National Federation of Music Clubs Young Composers Contest for “Piano Sonata”.
 
1973                Second prize, class II, National Federation of Music Clubs Young Composers Contest for “Piano Episodes”.
 
1973                Second prize, class I, National Federation of Music Clubs Young Composers Contest for
                          “Sonata for Flute and Piano”.
 
1975                Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Awards to Student Composers for “String Trio”.
 
1975                First prize, class I, National Federation of Music Clubs Young Composers Contest for “String Trio”.
 
1973-77          University of California Santa Barbara Regents Intern Fellowship

1977-78          Fulbright-Hays Grant to study music composition with Justin Connolly at the Royal College of Music,                                          London
 
1985                American New Music Consortium Award, New York for “Chamber Concerto”.