Derek Fenstermacher is leading a new era of tuba soloists into the 21st century with his dynamic musicianship and keen eye for detail. After winning the position of Principal Tuba with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 2011, Fenstermacher has entered into the New Jersey music scene with a thirst for creativity and a passion for education. In 2015, he joined the Albany Symphony Orchestra as Principal Tuba and now enjoys sharing principal duties between the two orchestras.
Prior to joining the NJSO, Fenstermacher was the Principal Tubist with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Orchestra (TN) from 2006–14. He has also performed extensively with the New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Alabama Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Huntsville Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony, Mobile Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony and Meridian Symphony Orchestras. He was an associate member with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 2008–09.
An enthusiastic teacher, Fenstermacher teaches orchestral tuba at Bard College’s Conservatory of Music and coaches the school’s brass quintet and trombone quartet. He is also Adjunct Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at Montclair State University, where he teaches applied lessons in Music Education and Music Performance. From 2014–16, he was Adjunct Professor of Low Brass at Kean University. Fenstermacher has taught masterclasses at numerous universities and has been on faculty with Eastern Music Festival and Kinhaven Music School.
In 2008, Fenstermacher won the Leonard Falcone Artist Solo Tuba Competition, one of the premier tuba solo competitions in the world. That same year, he won three competitions and was a finalist in a fourth at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Cincinnati. Fenstermacher has won and placed in concerto competitions in Georgia, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas. He was a featured artist at the 2013, 2015 and 2017 Northeast Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference, as well as the 2014 and 2016 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference.
An avid chamber musician, Fenstermacher co-founded the Boreas Quartet, an exciting new ensemble featuring some of the brightest up-and-coming musicians. Their acclaimed first CD, The Serpent’s Kiss, won the 2016 Roger Bobo Award for Recording Excellence and is available through Potenza Music. Fenstermacher is also a member of the New York Tuba Quartet, which unites some of the finest brass musicians that New York City has to offer. These endeavors have allowed him to pursue a new passion—arranging—and his arrangements from The Serpent’s Kiss are available for purchase from Potenza Music. Currently, he is a member of the Sotto Voce Quartet, the world’s premiere tuba/euphonium quartet, and he will be touring nationally with the ensemble.
Fenstermacher began playing the tuba at the age of 14, and by age 19 he was a featured soloist with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. He received a B.M. from the University of Alabama, studying with Demondrae Thurman and James Michael Dunn. Fenstermacher went on to receive a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with Timothy Northcut, and prior to moving to New Jersey was obtaining a performer’s certificate from the University of Houston with Mark Barton. Fenstermacher lives with his lovely wife, flutist Allison Kelsey, and their two cats. In his free time, he enjoys cooking southern BBQ.
Fenstermacher is a Buffet Group Performing Artist, and performs on B&S tubas. Learn more about Fenstermacher and watch his popular YouTube channel by visiting his website, dftuba.com.