Derek Hurst

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General Info


Associate Professor of Composition


Electronic Music

Part of my mission as an artist and a teacher is to convey the value and importance of a thorough and traditional musical training, while emphasizing the notion that composition (music in general) is a vibrantly living art.

Derek Hurst joined the Conservatory in 2016, and is an associate professor of composition specializing in electronic music.

Hurst is also an associate professor of composition at Berklee College of Music, teaching courses in in composition, counterpoint, theory, and electronic music, and a visiting associate professor at Brandeis University. He has also taught at Brown University, Northeastern University, and Wheaton College.

An award-winning composer, Hurst's creative output is nearly equally split between acoustic and electro-acoustic concert music. He stands as an active composer in Greater Boston, and his work receives recognition locally, nationally, and abroad. He has been honored with several commissions, awards, fellowships, and jury-selected performances, including a Jebediah Foundation new music commission, Fromm Foundation commission, multiple Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowships, Wellesley Composers Conference fellowships, an Aaron Copland Award, and the Wayne Peterson Prize, and he has participated in numerous ICMC events, Society for Electro-Acoustic Music (SEAMUS) activities, and the Computer Art Festival in Padua, Italy. His works have also been featured on regular season concerts of ensembles such as BMOP, Interensemble, Boston Musica Viva, Brave New Works, and Left Coast Ensemble and by numerous soloists, such as Ian Pace and Xenia Pestova. As a new music advocate, Hurst also curates concerts of recently composed electro-acoustic and acoustic music for several organizations and has served as a judge for various distinguished awards and competitions.

In 2007, Hurst earned a Ph.D. in composition and theory from Brandeis University. His analytical dissertation was published by VDM Verlag under the title The Classical Tradition and Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto: Monothematic Sonata Form, Long-range Voice-leading, and Chromatic Saturation. His other degrees include an M.F.A. from Brandeis University in music composition/theory (2001) and an M.S.T. in music from Portland State University (Oregon).

Professional Awards and Recognitions

  • New Music Commission Prize (Jebediah Foundation, 2017)
  • Artist Fellowship (Massachusetts Cultural Council, 2007, 2013)
  • Fromm Music Foundation commission (Harvard University, 2003)
  • Aaron Copland Award and Copland House Residency (2003)
  • Interloper: winning composition (Wayne Peterson Composition Competition, 2001)

Notable Recent Works

  • Concerto for Orchestra, commissioned by Boston Modern Orchestra Project (2017-2018 season)
  • Codex Borbonicus for two violins (in progress), written for String Noise
  • Étapes for multipercussion and electronics for percussionist Jeff Means (2015-2016)
  • Ju-Ju for flute (2015-2016)
  • Torsion for viola and electronics (2014)
  • Torsion for Wind Ensemble, commissioned (2014)
  • Bacchanalia Skiapodorum for alto sax and electronics, recorded on Brian Sacawa's release American Voices
  • An Wem for toy piano and electronics, recorded on Xenia Pestova's release Shadow Piano