Entertainment

Innovative cellist fuses classic and contemporary

Cris Derksen and her cello. - Submitted
Cris Derksen and her cello.
— image credit: Submitted

The genre-defying Cris Derksen amazes with inventive performances in which this young artist invigorates orchestral cello playing with world, folk and electronica influences to produce a blend of the classical and contemporary.

Derksen draws inspiration from her indigenous ancestry, and her by-donation appearance in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre main theatre on March 16 will be an exhilarating exhibition of cultural collaboration with something for everyone.

The performance will also involve participation from the local Spirit of our Communities Youth Group, part of the Aboriginal Children and Families Chiefs’ Coalition.

Derksen, originally from Northern Alberta, has become a rising star on the Canadian world music scene and received awards for performances that fuse her training as a classical cellist with modern technology and musical influences. The unique compositions she produces intricately braid genres and styles, using looping techniques to construct multiple layers and dimensions of sound and weaving her influences into evocative and original soundscapes.

A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Derksen holds a Bachelor of Music in cello performance and shared the title of principal cellist in the university’s Symphony Orchestra.

Derksen has performed in venues ranging from Canada’s symphony halls to European fringe festivals in Italy, Norway and the Czech Republic.

“When I started this I was trying to create something with the cello that relates to people other than just classical music fans, and make the cello more relatable to people who have never experienced it before,” she said. “There are many aboriginal communities where people have never heard or experienced the cello, so being an aboriginal person I really wanted to try and bring this classical instrument into that new environment.”

Featured alongside Derksen at the Cultural Centre will be dancers who express the emotion and spirit of her music through the traditional dance of the people of the plains.

“I think that the dancers really deepen the performance and give it an element of spirituality as well.”

This is a by-donation event on March 16 at 7:30 p.m. Guests can name their price upon entry to enjoy this performance. All proceeds will go towards helping the Cultural Centre continue to bring such creative performances to Chilliwack. For tickets call the centre box office at 604-391-SHOW (7469), visit in person or purchase online at www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca.

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