Representative Work - SOU

NorCal Water Music (2019)

for chamber ensemble and socio-multimedia 

all composition, video animation, live video-jockeying, sound

design, and post production by Derek Keller

PDF of SCORE - 30': this score reflects the order in which the ensemble chose to play the movements and their components

photo: Jonathan Reveles

NorCal Water Music is the third piece in a developing series of compositions called The Modular Music Project (MMP) that break the 'fourth wall' of concert music performance. In MMP I combine live performance, formal modularity, and the audience’s mobile devices to create music along the deterministic–improvisational–aleatoric continuum. The movements, their components, and video animations are modular: the musicians can play the movements and their sections/parts thereof in different  arrangements;  the  video  projections  can  be broadcast at different times; and  the audience

can  navigate  and  playback  related  media  they  retrieve from  mywebsite. With  this  piece others in the series, I seek to create ‘living’ multimedia works through communicative flexibility  between  myself, the  performers  and  the audience to address socio-political challenges of our contemporary moment. 


This video represents the world premiere of NorCal..., performed by Citywater at the Crocker Art Museum on Nov. 10, the last day of the 42nd Annual  Festival of New American Music. NorCal... dives into issues concerning one of California’s most important resources - water - and celebrates the beauty, complexity, and fragility of the Sacramento River Watershed. The ensemble realizes music derived from computer-animated maps of the watershed, overlaid by musical notation. The ensemble determines an order of the movements and their respective components. As video-jockey, I cue that order with the my video animations of different geographical areas of the watershed to accompany  NorCal... as projections on a screen in the concert hall.

Between movements, there are short video interludes featuring the ecological sounds found at a particular waterway. At these moments, the audience is invited to view on their mobile devices a short video (with its own soundtrack) accessible from my website, thus creating streams of audio-visual motivic echoes across the hall. At this performance (and future ones), Citywater, myself, and the audience sustain a multidimensional, and sometimes fragile, aqua-sonorous musical space.

The remaining videos in the playlist here constitute the media that I project and make make available on my website for the audience to view on their mobile devices.

For a movement-by-movement set of time-points, please visit this video of the piece on my youtube page

The End Times Are a'Changin':

fantasia on a theme by Dylan (2018)

for guitar solo and socio-multimedia

all composition, video animation, live video-jockeying, sound

design, and post production by Derek Keller

PDF of SCORE - 17': this score reflects the order in which the the performer chose to play the movements.

This was the first piece composed for my Modular Music ProjectIn the video, Colin McAllister and myself perform The End Times... at SoundOn 2019 (program notes here)The End Times... offers the guitarist, the video-jockey, and the audience a unique opportunity to
realize together an audio-visual work that can start and end in a myriad of ways. At any given performance, Colin determines an order of the movements, to which I am not privy. Upon hearing each of the movements and the improvised interludes between them, I perform as video-jockey, by choosing videos from a library of media that I created for the piece to project in the concert hall and making available online for the audience to play back simultaneously on their mobile devices (with their volumes up!). While the formal arcs are similar, the pathways through the movements, the improvisation between them (please see the score for notes on this aspect of the work), and the degree to which the audience participates can make for very different realizations   and   conclusions   of   the  experience.

The piece was inspired by McAllister’s intellectual interests in apocalypticism and medieval eschatology intersecting with my ever-evolving approach to stylistic mixture. The remaining videos in the playlist here constitute the media that I project and make available on my website for the audience to play back on their mobile devices.


For a movement-by-movement set of time-points, please visit this video of the piece on my youtube page, and a different version of the same here.

Impositions and Consequences (2007)

for soprano, tenor, ten. sax, e-guitar, contrabass,

piano (doubling mellotron), and drums

PDF of SCORE - 14'

Impositions and Consequences -
00:00 / 00:00

This piece was commissioned by John Zorn. It is the title track on an album of my music released on his label, Tzadik in 2008. In this piece, I present three distinct musical realms that  inhabit  what most listeners might hear as heavy metal, jazz-fusion, and opera. While some of the movements explore one style in depth, the others integrate and juxtapose these styles and reveal consequences of such impositions.  This piece not only blurs the distinctions between the 'hi-lo' aesthetic divide, it also interweaves and fuses together the most compelling qualities of these styles without minimizing their respective histories and traditions.

Performance work (guitar and voice) across genres

this playlist features my work as a guitarist, countertenor, accompanist, and also includes a performance of Mixtures~Crossfades~Foci (2013)

for two guitars 

PDF of SCORE - 17' 




excerpts from the  'club version'

of my developing opera,

California Tableaux

Two Examples from Horse Thieves: ‘Bout Damn Time (2016)

Album of original music in the rock  / progressive rock style.

All composition, programming, guitars,

and vocal performances by Derek Keller


"High Noon"

This excerpt begins just before the guitar solo.

Please listen about 2 minutes, or to the end, if you like.



This excerpt begins at the last verse.

Please for about 2 minutes, or so. 

High Noon (excerpt) - Derek Keller
00:00 / 00:00
Awaken (excerpt) - Derek Keller
00:00 / 00:00

"Freelander" (2010)

30-second commercial audio for video

All composition, programming,

guitar and vocal performances 

by Derek Keller 


©2018 by Derek Keller Music


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