Derrick Thompson '08: The Music Man

Derrick Thompson in ChinaDerrick Thompson ’08 has studied and performed under some of the world’s greatest performers, conductors, and educators including: leading female conductor Marin Alsop of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; director Craig Fields, former director of Opera on the James; Maestro Francesco Milioto; and British Maestro Nicholas Smith.

After earning his B.A. in music with an emphasis in vocal music education from LC, where he studied under Dr. Jong Hyun Kim, Derrick earned an M.A. in music at Morgan State University in Baltimore, where he studied in the studio of Vincent Dion Stringer.

Derrick made his professional debut in 2007 with the Opera on the James as the Duke in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, and he is an active recitalist, chamber musician, and operatic performer. His most recent performances include Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone, Prince Torado in Dunbar’s Dream Lovers, bass soloist for Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, and King Balthazzar and the Page in Amahl and the Night Visitors. He made his Maryland debut in November 2008 as the baritone soloist for the world premiere of the oratorio, The Chartered Course, celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the City of Annapolis.

Derrick spent a year (2010-2011) as the artistic director of the Tianjin Concert Hall Mulan Children’s Choir in Tianjin, China, a city of 3.7 million people. After earning his master’s, Derrick received an email from Dr. Oeida Hatcher, LC associate professor of music, about a job opening in China. He had just returned from a two-week tour in China (that included a visit to Tianjin) with a choir from Morgan State. Intrigued, Derek applied for the position and interviewed via Skype. He landed the job and headed for China where he worked with four choirs with a 150 members aged 7-13. He taught them pieces in English and Latin, while trying to learn Chinese.

“The greatest joy is being on stage performing,” Derrick wrote, while he was in China. “Since my time here, I have had two wonderful opportunities to perform with the International Festival Chorus and Peking Sinfonietta in Beijing. In December, I sang Handel’s Messiah and, in April, Bach’s St. John Passion. I have met some of the greatest choirs, conductors, and performers from all around the world. Also in April, the Westminster Boys Choir from the United Kingdom performed at the Concert Hall. I had the opportunity to conduct a piece during their concert. I am in awe of the opportunities that have been given to me since I have been here. If I had not taken the job, I would have missed out.

“During my time here in China, I can see the country developing and changing rapidly. Many people who visit may learn about the culture but my suggestion is to live it. Embracing the Chinese culture, eating their foods, and living their daily lifestyle has definitely made me appreciate more and more what I have in the States. I hope I will be able to take what I have learned in China and use it to help better myself, and most of all, the music of the world.”

Derrick is now a fulltime music teacher in Charlotte County, Virginia, teaching at Phenix Elementary, Central Middle, and Randolph Henry High.