"Derksen creates undeniably modern music that mixes folk, classical, dance, and aboriginal structures and tunes with electronic beats [...]"
"[...] Derksen’s creation is more than just a new choral work. It is meant to be a physical as well as audible expression of people coming together to freely give and receive something that speaks directly to community."
- John Terauds, June 2019
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, 2020 Compositions include: Napi and the Rocks -A Symphonic story commissioned by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Same Wave- An 8 Part Choral Piece, commissioned by Camerata Nova Choir, The Triumph of the Euro-Christ an 8 part choral piece commissioned by the Art Gallery of Ontario. 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. A new performance art piece commissioned by the National Art Gallery of Canada, Ikumagiialit. 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.
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.