Juno nominated Cris Derksen is an internationally respected Indigenous cellist and composer. 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. Derksen 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 Derksen has a foot in many worlds. Her 2019 compositions include Maada’ookii Songlines, a Mass Choral piece for 250 singers commissioned by Luminato Festival; Rebellion, a short symphonic piece commissioned by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra; Iron Peggy, a theatre piece commissioned by the Vancouver Children’s Festival; and a new performance art piece commissioned by the National Art Gallery of Canada, Ikumagiialit. 2018 highlights include a DORA Award for Best Sound Design for Theatre 2018 for Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools; TIFF Premier Biidaaban (the dawn comes), a 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 commission White Mans Cattle; and Wood Quintet International commission 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.
Silence is a nonprofit music venue and art gallery located in downtown Guelph. Silence is dedicated to presenting sounds and musical practices that are diverse, challenging, sustainable and accessible through concerts, workshops and improvisation sessions. Silence serves as an incubator for practitioners and listeners alike. Silence is unbiased in regard to genre, culture, class, and tradition; we foster risk-taking, innovation and experimentation in all forms of music and sound, as well as other artistic expressions presented in the space. Silence is and will remain an accessible space. Silence gratefully acknowledges funding from the Ontario Arts Council for this performance.