In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — get 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. Juno nominated classically trained cellist and composer braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music.
As composer Cris has a foot in many worlds, 2019 compositions include: Maada’ookii Songlines- a Mass Choral event for 260 singers Commissioned by Luminato, Rebellion - a short symphonic piece commissioned by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Iron Peggy- A Vancouver Childrens Theatre Festival Production
2018 works include: 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.
Performing with some of Canada’s elite musicians Cris has performed and Collaborated with Buffy Sainte Marie, Tanya Tagaq, Kanye West, Naomi Klein and A Tribe Called Red, Leanne Simpson, Lightning Dust, e.s.l. to name a few.
Touring nationally and internationally Cris has traveled the globe with performances including: Hong Kong, Mongolia, Darwin Arts Festival (Australia), APAP (NYC), APAM (Australia), Edinburugh Festival (Scotland), Cervantino (Mexico), Women in (e)motion (Germany), Future En Seine (France), WOMEX (Spain), SXSW (Texas), Riddu Riddu (Norway), Respect Festival, Colors of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Barroquisimo (Mexico), MADE festival, Live at Heart (Sweden).
Nationally, Derksen has performed at most Canadian festivals including; Vancouver Island Music Fest, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues, Harrison Music Festival, Calgary Folk Fest, Regina Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Fest, Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, Luminato Festival, Frostbite Festival, Rifflandia, Prismatic Festival, Dawson City Music Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Alianait Festival, JunoFest, the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and the 2010 Cultural Olympiad.
Cris obtained a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance at the University of British Columbia and shared the title of Principal Cellist with the UBC Symphony Orchestra.
Pow.Wow.Wow Cris Derksen Video
TEDxVancouver - Cris Derksen - 11/21/09
Talking Stick Festival 2011, Cellist Cris Derksen & Fancy Dancer Shyama-Priya Singh