"He knows in his heart of hearts that an abundance of factors comes into play when a piece is made, and that the final form in which he delivers it generally falls far short of its original aspirations; consequently, he may feel that expository talk always disguises the work and helps to form distorted impressions." (Alexander Goehr)
Derek Anthony Kelly is originally from Dublin. Intending initially to pursue a career in Stained Glass and Ecclesiastical Design, he instead attended the DIT Conservatory of Music before going on to University College Dublin (UCD) and NUI Maynooth, where he completed a Masters in Composition. Teachers have included Seóirse Bodley, John Buckley, Martin O'Leary and Jane O'Leary. He has also attended master classes with James Wilson, Nicola LeFanu, Michael Finnissy, John Casken and Guto Pryderi Puw. In autumn of 2006 he began a PhD in Composition at Queen's University, Belfast.
Compositions include vocal, ensemble and solo instrumental works. A Feis Ceoil winner in 2001, Derek Anthony Kelly received the United Arts Club Markievicz Medal in its International Composition Competition held in 2002 for his work 'Two Songs of Sean O Riordáin'. In 2004 and 2005 two of his compositions, the 'Three Lyrics of Basho' and 'Lion in the Rain', received performances in SPNM led Irish events held both in Dublin and in London. A work for violin and piano premiered at the Notting Hill MayFest in London in 2009. Many of his works have been performed by the Concorde Ensemble and the Electronic Arts Revue (EAR) ensemble.