Derek Tywoniuk (b. 1988) is a Grammy-nominated percussionist and composer based in Los Angeles. As a percussionist, he has performed with Wild Up, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Spoleto Festival USA, the Lucerne Festival Academy, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Upside, at the Ojai Music Festival, and with the Smoke and Mirrors Ensemble, the last of which recorded two albums on the Yarlung Records label. As a soloist, he has appeared with The Colburn Orchestra and the Smoke and Mirrors Ensemble under Gerard Schwarz in Takemitsu’s From Me Flows What You Call Time, and with the Cleveland Institute of Music percussion ensemble in Island Music by Michael Tilson Thomas. He has appeared on Monday Evening Concerts performing the music of Steve Reich, Tōru Takemitsu, and Pierre Boulez, and has performed as a guest artist on the LA Philharmonic's Green Umbrella series in works by Anna Thorvadsdottir and Ryoji Ikeda.
Derek's compositions have been performed internationally by acclaimed musicians and ensembles such as Aperture Duo, HOCKET, Spectrum Ensemble, Nancy Zeltsman, Beverley Johnston, Fumito Nunoya, Wild Up, Brandon Ilaw, Trio Céleste, the Smoke and Mirrors Ensemble, Beyond Borders Percussion Group, and the Colburn Contemporary Players. As a winner of the Zeltsman Marimba Festival New Music for Marimba competition in 2009, his work For Dean Primmer was published by Edition Peters and recorded on the Bridge Records label. His music has also been recorded on the Yarlung Records label.
As an educator, Derek has taught musicianship at UCLA as a graduate teaching assistant, concert percussion at South Pointe Middle School, and at the Idyllwild Arts Summer ChamberFest. In a residency in Bellingham, Washington in 2013, as part of the Smoke and Mirrors Ensemble, he performed over twenty outreach concerts in area schools, as well as an evening program at Western Washington University.
Derek received his PhD in Music Composition from UCLA. Prior to that, he studied percussion, earning a Master of Music and Artist Diploma from The Colburn School's Conservatory of Music as a student of Jack van Geem, and a Bachelor of Music degree as a student of Richard Weiner and Paul Yancich at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Outside of music, his loves include coffee, dogs, contemporary art, and books. Some of his favorite authors are Maggie Nelson, James Baldwin, and José Esteban Muñoz, and his favorite artists include Ron Athey, Yves Klein, Kara Walker, and Chris Burden. He is in the beginning stages of writing a book about joy.