The music of composer, Derek Jacoby, attempts to combine his disparate interests in improvisational jazz, Renaissance music, and the classical music tradition. Very much informed by the music of Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Stravinsky he has also been deeply affected by his study of Renaissance composers Orlando de Lassus and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, which led him to study source manuscripts dating from the 16th century at the British Library in London. Much of Jacoby's music plays out a synthesis of voice-leading technique found in Bach and Palestrina with the intervallic structures found in the improvisations of jazz musicians Miles Davis, Woody Shaw, and Dave Douglas (Jacoby is also a trumpet player). The fury of Beethoven and the contrasts of Stravinky show up as proof of the influence of traditional concert music. Importance is always placed on showing the listener a complete sonic landscape and somehow leading them through it. Since the inspirations are so diverse, the integration and thorough blending of these ideas is even more crucial than usual. Contrasts always come from within the landscape, never from sounding like Beethoven one minute and a 1940s big band the next.
Most recently Derek's Flute Concerto, featuring flautist Sarah Tiedemann, was selected by WGBH Boston for national and international broadcast on their program Art of the States. In May 2004, he won the California State University Hayward Alumni Choral Composition Competition, which lead to the premiere of his Vide Homo. His music has been featured on the concert series of Tuesday Night New Music, the Socially Awkward Composers, New Music Brandeis and the Composers's Series of the New England Conservatory. Artists who have performed his works include the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Composers, Inc., the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, the Parker String Quartet, the California State University Hayward Wind Ensemble Players and the choruses of Cal State Hayward, Cornell University, San Francisco State University, and the University of Oregon. Further musical influences can be found in the music of Aaron Copland, Steven Hartke, Lee Hyla, György Ligeti, Magnus Lindberg, and Oliver Knussen.
Born on Christmas Eve, 1978, Jacoby's first compositions date from only as far back as 1998 but serve as a logical outgrowth of his love of improvisation. He started studying piano at the age of 6, followed by trumpet at the age of 11. While still pursuing classical trumpet and piano, his performance focus, with the influence of Miles Davis, turned mainly to jazz trumpet by high school. During his time at California State University Hayward, Derek performed as a soloist under guest artists Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider, Bobby Shew, Michael Brecker, and Louie Bellson, was awarded the Outstanding Collegiate Trumpeter Award at the 2001 Reno Jazz Festival and recorded his arrangement of Chick Corea's Mirror, Mirror with the CSUH Jazz Ensemble on their album, Metro.
Jacoby graduated from California State University Hayward with a B.A. in music in 2001. Studying under Lee Hyla, he recently completed his master's degree in music composition at the New England Conservatory of Music, and he started his doctorate at Brandeis University in the fall of 2004 with a full teaching fellowship.
Upcoming projects include a large work for the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, at the request of director Charles Peltz, a piece for Kenneth Radnofsky's 12-piece saxophone ensemble, and a piece for trombone, piano and percussion for Mark Broschinski.