Juno-nominated Cris Derksen is an Internationally respected Indigenous Cellist and Composer. In a world where almost everything—people, music, cultures—gets labelled and slotted into simple categories, Cris Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta, she comes from a line of chiefs from NorthTall Cree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. Derksen braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and Indigenous ancestry with new school electronics to create genre-defying music.
As composer Derksen has a foot in many worlds, 2019 compositions include Maada’ookii Songlines – a Mass Choral piece for 250 singers Commissioned by Luminato Festival. Rebellion—a short symphony commissioned by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Iron Peggy – a Theatre piece commissioned by the Vancouver Children’s Festival. A new performance art piece commissioned by the National Art Gallery of Canada, Ikumagiialit. Her 2018 works include the DORA Award for Best Sound Design for Theatre 2018; Kiinalik: these sharp tools, TIFF Premier Biidaaban (the dawn comes) Short Animation Film by Amanda Strong, Ka:hawai Dance Company production of BloodTides, Kamloopa Theatre production, 2018 Banff Centre for the Arts String Quartet Residency White Mans Cattle and Wood Quintet International 5 bucks per head.
As a performer, Derksen performs nationally and internationally solo and with some of Canada’s finest, including Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte Marie, Naomi Klein, and Leanne Simpson, to name a few. Recent destinations include Hong Kong, Australia, Mongolia, Sweden, and a whole lot of Canada—the place Derksen refers to as home.