Derek Schmidt is a composer, songwriter, sound designer, and music educator living in San Francisco. He is a founder and host of Homophonic at Martuni’s,, SF’s only queer singer/songwriter showcase. In addition to his solo songwriting work, he is also the founder and lead musician for electronic pop duo Adonisaurus as well as chamber folk group All My Pretty Ones, performing at venues throughout the country. In 2018 Derek received a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission to complete his new solo work Major Arcana -a song cycle interpretation of each of the 22 trump cards of the tarot deck. In 2021, Derek received his M.A. in Music at California State University, East Bay, focusing on composition. He is currently teaching private lessons in composition, songwriting, piano, guitar, and ukulele for both adults and children.
Coming up artistically in the underground art and music scene of Oakland and Berkeley and then jumping into the queer creative community of San Francisco,, Derek has written for many projects, from lush folk arrangements, to spare solo songwriter works, to intricately composed electronic songs. He’s scored the feature length movie Home and How to Break It, designed sound for countless performance artists and drag queens, performs locally in the Bay Area, and continues to write original compositions for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and chorus. He lives in SF with his wonderful performance artist/writer/activist partner and their two cats, Nimüe and Aleister.
Major Arcana is a 22 song cycle that explores the trump cards (or major arcana) of the tarot deck, from the Fool to the Universe. Each card is a a meditation on the symbolism within that card, as well as my own personal relationship to the card. Utilizing samples as a form of sympathetic magic, a mixture of both personal and more transcendent lyric writing, acoustic and electronic arrangements in combination with lush harmonies, Major Arcana has become a set of exploratory rituals attempting to capture the wisdom of each card, for myself and for everyone.