Touted as one of the most promising musicians of his generation by The Straits Time (Singapore), Derek Koh has grown rapidly to become a highly sought-after percussionist musician. Derek received his music education at the tender age of 5, winning his first awards at the age of 8. A graduate of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) School of Young Talents, he continued his undergraduate studies at the institution where he received his Bachelor of Music (First Class Honours) conferred by the Royal College of Music (RCM) under the tutelage of Mark Suter and Christian Schiøler. During his tenure at RCM, he studied percussion with David Hockings, Sam Walton and jazz vibraphone with Anthony Kerr. Derek is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at Mannes School of Music under the support of the Mannes Dean’s Scholarship, studying under Maya Gunji, Joseph Tompkins, and Michael Werner.
Derek has been part of the award-winning Chinese Chamber Ensemble Ding Yi Music Company (Ding Yi) since 2010, and also appears regularly as an extra percussionist with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Most recently, he was invited to play timpani for the Szechuan Symphony Orchestra when they stopped at Singapore during their Asian Tour. In 2016, he was selected to be in the inaugural Musician Fellowship program started by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, where he worked with the orchestra for half of its season. He has also played with local orchestras like the Singapore International Festival of Music Orchestra, Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, The Young Musicians' Foundation Orchestra, and has had the opportunity to work alongside musicians from the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. Derek has recorded with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra under the BIS label and has also recorded several soundtracks with the RCM Symphony Orchestra under Gavin Greenaway.