bbc music magazine rising star
Hailed as “bold, clear-headed and original” (BBC Music Magazine), prize-winning British composer Derri Joseph Lewis is making a name for himself as a unique voice in choral music and stage-works.
With a vivid and playful approach to timbre and rhythm, Derri’s work often explores themes of belonging, hope, lived experiences, and LGBTQIA+ identity. Accolades for his music include a prestigious 2022 Ivor Novello nomination for Something Exciting.
2023 highlights include a new commission from City Music Foundation celebrating 900 years of St Bart's Hospital in London, a new work for Cardiff-based choir Origin Voices based on Psalm 46, and a response to William Byrd's Rorate Caeli Desuper for Corvus Consort and Music on the Edge at Whiddon Autumn Festival.
"music of gently searing intensity"
Tom Service — BBC Radio 3 New Music Show
Deeply passionate about vocal and choral music, Derri’s distinctive musical style has been championed by leading singers and youth, university, and chapel choirs, including the National Youth Choir (Something Exciting, Softly, Locus Iste), Choir of King's College London (Gobaith), and mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston (A Moment).
"...a moving and enchanting work... a composition of clarity..."
Mike Smith - Arts Scene in Wales
Equally at home writing for instruments, Derri has collaborated with prestigious ensembles such as Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Liberalia) and BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Summit Blue), for which he was awarded the Welsh Music Guild's Paul Mealor Prize.
Derri’s work …BREATHE… for solo guitar, written for Tom McKinney, was featured in Psappha Ensemble’s 30th Anniversary season.
His music has been performed in the chapels of Somerville College, University of Oxford and King's College London, St David's Cathedral, and the National Centre for Early Music.
"I love the authenticity of Derri’s choral compositions. He shows a true heart and sincerity, as well as a well-developed understanding of the human voice and what it is capable of producing."
Ben Parry - Artistic Director & Principal Conductor, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (2012-2023)
Derri’s music-making process is intensely collaborative. The choral piece Something Exciting — a work about coming out as LGBTQ+ — was written in partnership with the singers of the National Youth Choir, weaving the musicians’ stories and ideas into the fabric of the piece.
A winner of the National Centre for Early Music’s Young Composer Award, Derri graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with BMus first class honours with a study-abroad term at Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK). He graduated in 2022 from King's College London with an MA double distinction.
24.10.2023: 3 Welsh Calendar Songs - Jeremy Huw Williams and Timothy Todd Simmons - Dixon Annex Recital Hall, New Orleans USA
13.09.2023: Rorate Caeli Desuper - Corvus Consort, Music on the Edge and Freddie Crowley - Holy Trinity Church Drewsteignton, Whiddon Autumn Festival
10.09.2023: Behold, O God - Choir of St Magnus the Martyr and Edward Walters - St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge
28.08.2023: Gobaith - National Youth Choir of Wales and Tim Rhys Evans - St David's Cathedral
27.08.2023: Gobaith - National Youth Choir of Wales and Tim Rhys Evans - RWCMD, Cardiff
25.08.2023: Gobaith - National Youth Choir of Wales and Tim Rhys Evans - Prichard Jones Hall, Bangor
14.06.2023: 9 Songs for Barts - Claire Ward, Jerome Knox and Alexander Soares - Great Hall, Bart's Hospital
04.06.2023: Something Exciting - Somerville Choir and Will Dawes - Somerville College, University of Oxford
16.03.2023: Something Exciting - University of Bristol Singers and Elinor Cooper - St George's Bristol