The American tenor, Derek Chester, received his Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Georgia where he studied with 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 on 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 with acclaimed German tenor Christoph Prégardien. While in Germany Chester was a member of the Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart and was heard as soloist in J.S. Bach's Cantatas BWV 22 and BWV 23 with the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart.
Praised by the New York Times for his "beautifully shaped and carefully nuanced singing," amd the Miami Herald for his effortless coloratura and firm, secure voice, Derek Chester is steadily making a name for himself in the world of classical music. He made his Bay Area premiere as a semi-finalist in the 2006 American Bach Soloists & Henry I. Goldberg International Young Artists Competition. He has appeared as soloist at the 2006 and 2008 Oregon Bach Festival under Helmuth Rilling, as Evangelist in J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245) during Bachwoche Stuttgart 2007 and at the 2007 Toronto Bach Festival also under Helmuth Rilling, and in Monteverdi's Vespers with Martin Pearlman and Boston Baroque. He is frequently featured as guest soloist with the Jeffrey Thomas' American Bach Soloists and is on the rosters of Miami's professional chamber choir Seraphic Fire, directed by Patrick Patrick Dupré Quigley (with whom he has also presented the complete motets of J.S. Bach - one voice per part) and Austinís Conspirare, directed by Craig Hella Johnson.
Derek Chester's 2006 recording of J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (1725 version, ReZound) with Simon Carrington conducting the Yale Schola Cantorum has received many accolades including rave reviews from Early Music and Choir and Organ magazines.
Recent concert appearances include Benjamin Brittenís War Requiem with the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony Orchestra, Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No.2 the "Lobgesang" with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245), Monteverdi's Book Seven Madrigals, and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the Dallas Bach Society, Händel's Messiah with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and the South Dakota Chorale, George Frideric Handel's Theodora with the Bach Collegium San Diego, the Evangelist in J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) nd Weihnachts Oratorium (BWV 248) with American Bach Soloists. Mr. Chester is the 2009 recipient of Carmel Bach Festival's prestigious Adam's Fellowship. He has appeared at the Staunton Music Festival as featured tenor soloist. Other recent concert credits include B. Brittenís Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Mozartís Litaniae de Venerabili Altaris Sacramento and Requiem, and Igor Stravinskyís Svadebka (Les Noces).
Acclaimed for his versatility, Derek Chester has excelled in opera and musical theatre roles spanning nearly six centuries of repertoire. His theater and opera credits include Oronte in Alcina, Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore, Peter Quint in Turn of the Screw, Simon Stimson in Our Town, Damon in Acis and Galatea, Abel/Japheth in Children of Eden with New Works New Haven, 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.
Derek Chester is a doctoral candidate in voice performance and opera studies under the tutelage of Jennifer Lane, at the University of North Texas where he is a Toulouse Fellow and a doctoral teaching fellow. He continues his work as a freelance singer across North America and Europe, and is artistic director of Adler Consort, an early music ensemble based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Derek Chester is solely represented and managed by Novo Artists.