Rob Derke plays a soprano AT #9 and a tenor AT #9
Rob Derke - saxophonist, educator, composer, arranger, producer, and conductor - has become known to a growing audience for his extreme versatility. Although he has made a statement in many musical styles, Rob has consistently incorporated his varied experience into jazz saxophone. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he was educated at New York City's LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, later receiving his bachelorʼs degree from the Manhattan School of Music and his masterʼs degree from SUNY Purchase. Inspired by his first teachers, Dave Schildkraut (formerly with Miles Davis, Stan Kenton, and others) and world-renowned jazz educator Justin DiCioccio, Rob began his career deeply rooted in the jazz tradition
Rob Derke has appeared with such jazz greats as Red Rodney, Clark Terry, the Heath brothers, Jon Faddis, Ray Vega, and Randy Brecker. His appearances have included performances as a player, conductor, and composer at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Town Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Radio City Music Hall, JVC Jazz Festival, various Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, and numerous clubs and radio broadcasts throughout the country.
While an undergraduate at Manhattan School of Music, Rob Derke developed an interest in new musical styles in his playing and compositions - notably, European classical and avant-garde, as well as various ethnic music traditions, which have since been explored in his travels to more than 20 foreign countries. His suite for woodwinds, percussion, and strings, titled "Khyal" and based on the Quwwali vocal tradition, was premiered at Carnegie Hall. In addition to composing and exploring original material for his own ensembles, Rob Derkeʼs recordings as a studio composer and producer for Grammy-nominated projects associated with hit TV shows and documentaries, have been featured for weeks on the Billboard charts.
Rob Derke has also been a sought-after educator in the New York City area for over a decade. From teaching woodwinds on the university level to directing big bands and large ensembles, he has spearheaded the creation of jazz programs in several New York area schools. As the Director of the “Jazz at Town Hall” Series, Rob Derke has assembled a faculty of Jazz greats for a unique program that brings a return to students of Jazz learning the music on stage with the masters. He has also served as an active presenter at clinics and conferences in addition to having written educational articles for various publications.