Biography

(Skip to Derek S. Henderson's CV.)

Derek S. Henderson, bass, is a classically-trained singer based in London, England.

Derek was born in 1974 in the Canal Zone, Republic of Panamá. He developed a love of singing from an early age. When asked if he wanted to join his primary school's glee club, Derek responded, "Naw, singing's for girls!" That very afternoon, though, all his friends were at the glee club audition and Derek was lonely and bored, so he sheepishly made a late appearance at the auditions. He's been singing ever since. Much of the blame can be laid on Wilma Monlouis, his junior high school choir director and music mentor, for her inspiration and encouragement.

In 1989 Derek moved with his family to San Diego, California, in the United States. In addition to singing with his school's award-winning show choir and being active in school and community theatre, Derek sang for three years in the California All-State Honor Choir, where the repertoire ranged from Haydn to Stravinsky and Norman Dello Joio. The summer after high school, Derek started taking voice lessons; his first teacher was Carolee Thornburg.

From 1992 to 1996 Derek attended prestigious Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Music. He was an active member of the Concert Choir and studied voice with Sharon Hayes and Judy Jones-Gale. He also sang his first opera role, Ben in Menotti's The Telephone. During summer breaks, Derek would return to San Diego, where he sang choir in Bizet's Carmen with the San Diego Symphony and interned at San Diego Opera and the La Jolla Chamber Music Festival.

Derek S. Henderson, bass

After Amherst Derek moved to Boston, where he studied with Eleanor Edwards, former President of the Boston Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). During this time, he sang Don Alfonso in a concert performance of Mozart's Così fan tutte (coached by Nico Castel); sang scenes from Mozart's Don Giovanni, Menotti's The Consul, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, and Thomas' Hamlet at New England Conservatory; placed third in the 2004 NATS-Boston Song and Aria Competition; and appeared in a Master Class with José Van Dam. He also returned to the community theatre stage, most notably as Falstaff in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Since 2006 Derek has been living in London, England, where he studies with David Pollard, who is affiliated with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 2008 Derek completed a Diploma in Concert Singing at Birkbeck College. He is now making a name for himself in the London music scene, where he is earning a reputation for his large, powerful bass voice and commanding stage presence.

In addition to singing, Derek has a lifelong love of languages. His native tongue is Spanish, and he's been speaking English since he was about four years old. He's forgotten most of the Japanese learned as a kid but has since formally studied three other languages. He is comfortable with French diction, has a very basic working knowledge of German, and has rudimentary conversational skills in Italian and Russian. He has also sung in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Estonian, Swahili, Zulu, Igbo, and Yoruba. With such a multicultural background, it's no surprise, then, that he also bears three passports, being a citizen of Panamá, the United States, and Italy.

Curriculum Vitae

Download Derek S. Henderson's CV [PDF, 81KB]

Appearance

Height
6'3" (190 cm)
Hair
dark brown
Eyes
blue
Facial hair
full beard

Performance

Range
D (D2) to f' (F4)
Roles
  • Cassandro, La finta semplice (Mozart), Opera Petit (2009)
  • Zaretsky, Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky), Suffolk Opera (2009)
  • Doctor Bartolo/Tartuffe Begearss, Figaro: The Faithful Servant (an adaptation of Rossini, Mozart, and Milhaud's Figaro operas), Grimeborn Opera (2009)
  • Gustave Colline, La bohème (Puccini), Southgate Opera (2009)
  • Rev. Olin Blitch, Susannah (Carlisle Floyd), Hampstead Garden Opera (2009)
  • Elder MacLean (prepared), Susannah (Floyd), Hampstead Garden Opera (2009)
  • Don Alfonso, Così fan tutte (Mozart), Cambridge City Opera (Nico Castel, coach; 1996)
Other
  • Third Place, NATS-Boston Song & Aria Competition (2004)
  • Master Class with José Van Dam (2003)
  • Various recitals in the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Republic of Panamá (1996-2009)
  • Extensive theatre work, most notably Falstaff in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor (2005)

Education

Voice teacher
David Pollard
Courses
  • Diploma in Concert Singing, Birkbeck College (2008)
  • Opera Workshop, New England Conservatory (2003-2004)
  • Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Music, Amherst College (1992-1996)

Other

Nationality
Panamá, United States, Italy
Languages
  • Spanish & English (full fluency)
  • Italian (basic conversational level)
  • Russian & German (basic working knowledge)
  • French (diction)

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