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Derek Nakamoto: A Life in Music


Veteran producer and composer Derek Nakamoto is looking at an illustrious 30 year career of producing and arranging for some of the most influential music artists and composing original music recorded by some of the world's most prestigious ensembles.

His extensive musical background has allowed him to work on a variety of eclectic projects. From string arrangements for Grammy winning artists and production credits to full orchestra scores, Derek forges textures and harmonies from different cultures and eras into a unique piece that is sure to move the audience.

In 1981, Derek moved to Los Angeles and spent the next few years recording and performing with Sony recording artist Hiroshima. His deep passion for orchestral scores led to film composer Michel Columbier (Purple Rain) mentoring Derek for orchestral music and cinematic instrumentation.

As an arranger, Derek has worked for musical legends such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Michael Bolton, Kenny Loggins, New Order, etc. He produced Teddy Pendergrass's comeback album Truly Blessed for EMI Records (the song "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" was nominated for a Grammy).

Derek's love for orchestral work combined with musical influences and sounds from around the world has led to a close collaboration with Jazz pianist Keiko Matsui. Derek has arranged and produced 23 of her albums. His cinematic soundscapes on albums like Doll, Sapphire, and Dreamwalk solidified Keiko as a force in the Contemporary Jazz genre and led to multiple Top Ten Hits on the Billboard charts.

Derek believes in carefully casting every ensemble he uses on each recording. He maintains close relationships with some of the most talented instrumentalists, engineers, and recording venues in the L.A. area.

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