At a young age, Derek had an affinity for sound. Whether he was clanking two objects together, divining melodies to himself, or wearing out his Baby Mozart cassette, he was living music. Beginning at age eight in his church hand chime choir, and moving through school as a pianist, percussionist, vocalist and trombonist, Derek became hungry for the diverse experiences the arts have to offer.
At the fore of his skill sets, Derek is a composer. As a student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, he independently produced and conducted the premiere of his Earthrise Mass as part of a Dean-sponsored series celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Throughout his undergraduate career he premiered several other works for both small and large scale ensembles. In 2014, Derek was asked to write a tuba concerto to be performed by the UML Symphony Orchestra and the winner of the annual concerto competition.
In 2017, Derek completed a Master's Degree in Composition from The New England Conservatory, studying with Michael Gandolfi. In fall of 2015, Derek was asked to compose a companion work to the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings. Upon its completion, it received two premieres, one with Derek guest conducting the workshop with the UMass Lowell String Ensemble, and another on NEC's Tuesday Night New Music series. In Fall 2017, the NEC Chamber Singers premiered his Assembly as part of a song cycle collaboration in honor of the sesquicentennial of The New England Conservatory. Weagle's recent commission for Roger Williams University and the Bristol County Choral Union, The Vespers, the Star, the Light of Love! was premiered in December.
Weagle's compositional style has been revered for its simultaneous nostalgic and contemporary flavors. His work draws on varied palate of sound, not only in the art music idiom, but also in indie, folk, R&B, film, and non-western traditions. Derek's compositional philosophy is rooted in the mission of tearing down the social barriers that have emerged around "classical music." Striving to bring his music to venues outside of the canonized concert hall, Derek also hopes that his music will provide audiences an immersive, socially relevant, and healing experience.
Also a conductor and music educator, Derek is passionate about accessible and diversified arts education. Derek holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education, during which he completed fieldwork teaching middle school general music, implementing a project-based curriculum that centered around composition and inter-arts collaboration. From 2012 to 2015, Weagle served as the conductor of the UMass Lowell String Project's String Sinfonia and a teaching artist for the Lowell Youth Orchestra. In March 2015, he traveled to Salt Lake City to present at the American String Teachers' Association and National String Project Consortium's "Best Practices" session on efficient program administration and his work in database development within arts non-profits. He continues to serve as Composer-in-Residence for the String Project, providing them with educational arrangements of orchestral standards as well as mainstream music.
In 2014, Derek was invited to guest conduct the Metropolitan Wind Symphony on their summer music series. He has also gained invaluable experience as a conductor by coaching performances of his own works. Most recently, Derek conducted the premiere of his English horn sonata, Resplendent Sorrow, in New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. At NEC, Weagle also studied Choral Conducting with Erica Washburn.
Derek currently resides in New York City fulfilling commissions, freelancing as a database developer, and serves full-time as Coordinator of Meetings & Logistics for the League of American Orchestras, a multinational member organization that leads, champions, and advances the experiences and advocacy surrounding the orchestral ecosystem of North America.