Born in Lancashire, Derek read music at Durham University, where he first conducted choirs and orchestras. As the recipient of an International Rotary Fellowship, he became a postgraduate conducting student at the University of Washington in Seattle, subsequently completing a research degree in the conducting of twentieth century music. He has taught in grammar and comprehensive schools on Merseyside and on the Isle of Wight and for thirteen years was Head of Music at Peter Symonds College in Winchester.
A former chief examiner for the Oxford University music A-level, Derek has been a music tutor with the Open University since 1997. Derek has also directed a number of performances of the Winchester Operatic Society, including Strauss' Die Fledermaus and Bizet's Carmen. As a composer, he has provided orchestral and choral arrangements for the Twyford Singers and for many of the other groups with which he has worked.
As well as conducting the Twyford Singers since 1995, Derek is organist and choirmaster at the Chapel of St Cross in Winchester. Derek was Director of Music of the Winchester and County Music Festival from 2006 to 2016 and is currently its Chairman.