Derek Kealii Polischuk is associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy at the Michigan State University College of Music. Originally from San Diego, Polischuk studied with Krzysztof Brzuza before attending the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree with distinction under the tutelage of renowned piano pedagogue Daniel Pollack. On graduating from the Thornton School in 2006, Polischuk was named Most Outstanding Graduate.
Polischuk’s 2013 solo piano recording “Terra Incognita” for the Blue Griffin label has received international critical acclaim. Colin Clarke of Fanfare Magazine wrote, “The Schubert receives an excellent performance from Polischuk. Shadings are perfectly judged, and Schubert’s sense of timelessness is superbly judged, finding the pianist testing the boundaries of what constitutes too much without actually transgressing. The playful F-Minor offers pure joy.” Lawrence Consentino wrote, “Polischuk hits every chord with a sweet weight. Every now and then, a set of notes tumbles down like flecks of snow breezed form a crow’s nest, with no evident human touch. With a warm but not ingratiating touch, he lets the music resound as if it were coming from inside your mind…’Terra Incognita’ is a thought-provoking mix of sensual pleasure and deep reflection."
An enthusiastic supporter of the education of young musicians at every age, ability and background, Polischuk has presented at meetings of piano teachers in the United States and Canada, including the Music Teachers National Association, the National Group Piano and Pedagogy Conference, and the Multidisciplinary Research in Music Pedagogy Conference. He has adjudicated piano competitions across the United States and teaches a studio a prizewinning pianists at the undergraduate, graduate and pre-college levels. He has published articles in Clavier Magazine and in the MTNA e-jounal on the topics of improvisation, outreach, and piano instruction for students with autism spectrum disorders. Polischuk is the founder and director of the “Celebrating the Spectrum” Piano Festival for advanced pianists on the Autism Spectrum. At Michigan State University, Polischuk has been the recipient of the Curricular Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Award, and the Teacher-Scholar Award, given in recognition of exceptional skill in teaching.