An innovative artist, queer classical pianist Darren Creech “shows his belief in a new potential for the classical concert stage” (CBC Music), and his playing has been heralded as “remarkably fresh and enticing” (Ludwig van Toronto) and “full of ease, very convincing” (Yannick Nézet-Séguin). “Carving a niche as the only queer classical pianist to fiercely highlight his identity on stage” (National Sawdust Log), Darren was the Keynote Performer at McGill University’s Music Graduate Symposium and was awarded the Best Artist Prize at Toronto’s Nuit Rose.
His multidisciplinary approach to the classical stage subverts expectations and takes his diverse audiences on an emotional journey. His unique solo performances have been described as “both unexpected and unforgettable” (Throbbing Rose Collective) and “tour-de-forces, propelled by a powerful narrative” (Ludwig van Toronto), as Darren designs the lighting, composes poetic interludes and styles his many wardrobe changes.
Darren connects communities and organizations through his work. His McGill Keynote Performance was video broadcast live on CBC Music, and Steinway Piano Gallery Toronto sponsored his award-winning performance at the queer art festival Nuit Rose. His partnership with the world’s first queer orchestra, Toronto’s Counterpoint Community Orchestra was called a “perfect fit” (Canadian Mennonite) in their Toronto première performance of Victor Davies’ celebrated “Mennonite Piano Concerto.”
An advocate of contemporary music, Darren frequently collaborates with innovative composers, having also premièred works by Sarah Kirkland Snider, Wally Gunn and Norbert Palej, and was a guest artist at the Toronto Creative Music Lab. As the resident pianist for FAWN Chamber Creative, he actively participates in creating new work, including co-creating a Queer Techno Opera.
As a collaborative artist and performer, he has worked with visual artist Erwin Olaf, accompanying “Waiting,” a film installation with a live piano score at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, and has collaborated with both Cree-Mennonite cellist & composer Cris Derksen and Grammy Award-winning producer & steel guitarist Daniel Lanois.
In addition to his work as a performer, Darren is in demand as a panelist and workshop presenter to all ages, regularly sharing how he has “carved himself a niche in the music world” (Laurier Alumni) and the centring of identity in creating an artistic practice. Recent engagements include speaking at McGill University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Toronto Creative Music Lab, Canadian New Music Network, and Blyth Academy. He has also served as a jury member for the JUNO Awards.
Recent performance highlights include closing the Suoni per il Popolo festival alongside the Queer Songbook Orchestra in Montreal, inaugurating The Music Gallery’s season at 918 Bathurst in a double-bill with NYC’s TAK Ensemble, and his performance in Burdock’s PIANO FEST. He also attended the prestigious Banff Centre for the Arts for a multidisciplinary residency to develop a brand-new solo show.
Having grown up in Senegal, West Africa, Darren draws on his cross-cultural background to inform his unconventional approach to the stage. He holds a Master of Music in piano performance from Université de Montréal and an Honours Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University. He currently lives in Toronto.