Praised by the New York Times for his beautifully shaped and carefully nuanced singing, tenor Derek Chester 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 was a member of the Gächinger Kantorei and was heard as soloist in Bach Cantata’s 22 and 23 with the Bach Collegium Stuttgart. He has also 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 professional chamber choir Seraphic Fire under Patrick Quigley. Mr. Chester’s 2006 recording of Bach’s St. John Passion (1725 version, ReZound) under the baton of Simon Carrington (Yale Schola Cantorum) has received many accolades, including rave reviews from Early Music and Choir and Organ Magazine. His recent recording of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with Seraphic Fire has been commercially released to great acclaim. Recent concert credits include Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with Boston Baroque and American Bach Soloists, Mendelssohn's 2nd Symphony (Lobgesang) with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, Handel’s St. John Passion, Monteverdi Book Seven Madrigals, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the Dallas Bach Society, Handel's Messiah with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and South Dakota Chorale, Handel's Theodora with the Bach Collegium San Diego, the evangelist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and Bach’s Mass in B minor and Weihnachts Oratorium with American Bach Soloists. Mr. Chester was the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Adam's Fellowship at the Carmel Bach Festival, and appears as a featured tenor soloist at the Staunton Music Festival in Staunton, Virginia.
Though mainly known for his success as a concert singer, Mr. Chester displays his versatility on the operatic stage. Theater and opera credits include Nemorino in L'Elisir d'amore, Peter Quint in Turn of the Screw, Simon Stimson in Our Town, Damon in Acis and Galitea, Abel/Japheth in Children of Eden, and Don Basilio and Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro. Mr. Chester is currently finishing his doctorate in vocal performance and opera at the University of North Texas under Jennifer Lane 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 in based in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.