Derek Smith (b. 1930)

During his time as an early member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Derek met tutor Malcolm Arnold with whom he subsequently studied composition. Norman Del Mar taught him conducting, other influences being Colin Davis and Lennox Berkeley, with whom he occasionally played chamber music.

Music was pursued in the background during a scientific career but since his retirement he has had time and energy to further develop his gift for composition and arrangement. As composer, Derek entered the BBC Music Magazine’s Henschel String Quartet competition in 2008 and was awarded first prize for ‘Carolingua’, which was performed at Kings Place, London. Since then, he has written many chamber compositions, including works for wind ensemble, string quartets, a string quintet, trios, duos and solo piano works. In 2020, he composed a Requiem for unaccompanied choir which was premièred at Great Malvern Priory in February of this year by the internationally acclaimed young choir The Carice Singers. It received a very warm welcome by performers and audience alike.

Derek has also produced numerous arrangements. His particular interest is in recasting often neglected orchestral works into practical formats for modern performance by smaller groups. A number of CDs of his classical arrangements and compositions have been issued, including his much-performed arrangements for wind ensemble of six serenades by Haydn.

See www.gemmamusic.co.uk