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Red Contributor

Reuben Derrick


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Born: 1979


Reuben grew up in Christchurch where he is now based as a saxophonist, clarinettist, improviser, sonic artist and composer, active in New Zealand and Australian exploratory music communities.

Currently a DMA candidate at the University of Canterbury, his thesis ‘Composition through Listening and Performance: the ecology of soundscapes’ draws upon field recording and improvisation. His work features locations in New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka, where he visited in 2011 with Richard Nunns.

Reuben’s first visit to Sri Lanka was in 2009 for collaboration between traditional ritual artists and western improvisers, from which the group ‘Baliphonics’ was formed. In 2007/2008 he toured NZ and recorded with ‘The Crust’, a trio performing original arrangements of music by Steve Lacy (with Sum Suraweera and Greg Malcolm). In 2007 his commissioned work ‘Ruptured Certainty’ for jazz ensemble and pipe organ was performed in the Christchurch cathedral.

Since completing his degree in jazz performance in 2000 (Sydney Conservatorium) Reuben has embraced experimental improvisation, performing collaboratively and solo at exploratory music festivals and concert series such as the Now Now, Bomb the Space, and Fredstock. Improvisational highlights include encounters with Shoji Hano, Kris Wanders, Jeff Henderson, Richard Nunns, Mike Nock, Jaap Blonk, and Rod Cooper.

Other musical interests are broad and include developing original music, composed and improvised, with an eclectic range of local groups. Multi-disciplinary collaborations have featured dance, circo-arts, poetry and film. In addition to reeds Reuben plays keyboards, recorders and percussion.

Awards: Lilburn Prize for Composition (2010, 2011, 2012)

Composed (5)

Castle Hill April Fool

field recording and exploratory performance, 5m 56s


soundscape work, 10m 40s

West Coast Ballad

for soprano saxophone and piano, 3m 45s