DEREK CHESTER (tenor) has been praised by the Miami Herald for his effortless coloratura and firm, secure voice, is steadily making a name for himself in the world of classical singing. Mr. Chester received his Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Georgia as a student of Gregory Broughton. As a student of renowned American tenor James Taylor, he completed his Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance of Oratorio, Early Music, Song, and Chamber Music in 2006 with a 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 as a student of acclaimed German tenor, Christoph Prégardien.
In Germany, he is a member of the Gächinger Kantorei and has recently been heard as soloist in Bach Cantatas 22 and 23 with the Bach Collegium Stuttgart. He also has appeared as soloist at the 2006 and 2008 Oregon Bach Festivals under Helmuth Rilling, as Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion during Bach Woche 2007 in Stuttgart and also at the 2007 Toronto Bach Festival under Helmuth Rilling. He is a featured soloist with the American Bach Soloists under Jeffrey Thomas, and is on the roster of Miami’s Seraphic Fire under Patrick Dupre Quigley. Mr. Chester’s 2006 recording as the evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion (1725 version, ReZound) under the baton of Simon Carrington has received many accolades, including rave reviews from Early Music and Choir and Organ Magazine. He is in high demand as an oratorio soloist with recent concert credits including Bach's Mass in B minor (American Bach Soloists) and St. Matthew Passion (evangelist, Richmond Symphony), Septimius in Handel's Theodora (Bach Collegium San Diego), and Mendelssohn's Symphony #2: Lobgesang (Buffalo Philharmonic). Acclaimed as a versatile tenor, Mr. Chester has also excelled in the performance of opera and musical theatre. Theater and opera credits include Nemorino in The Elixir of Love and Simon Stimson in Our Town with the University of North Texas Opera Theatre, Damon in Acis and Galatea at the Staunton Music Festival, Abel/Japheth in Children of Eden with New Works New Haven, Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro with Athena Grand Opera, Grosvenor in Patience and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas with the University of Georgia Opera Theatre. Mr. Chester is currently working on his doctorate in Opera and Early Music studying under Jennifer Lane at the University of North Texas, where he is a doctoral fellow, a teaching fellow, and works as a freelance singer across North America and Europe.