Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Derek W. Hawkes started his musical studies at an early age. Coming from a musical family, he began piano instruction at age five and trombone at age ten. He studied primarily with John Kitzman, former Principal Trombone of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, H. Dennis Smith, former Principal Trombone of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, Toby Oft, Principal Trombone of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Hawkes was a multiple-year substitute on trombone, euphonium, and bass trumpet with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, as well as Principal Trombone of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra in Maine. Most recently, he spent two seasons as Second Trombone of the Jacksonville Symphony beginning in 2015. He begins his position as Assistant Principal/Second Trombone of the Nashville Symphony in September 2017.
Hawkes has been a soloist with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, Plano Symphony Orchestra, SMU Meadows Wind Ensemble, and Interlochen Philharmonic. He was the Winner of the 2010 International Trombone Association Gilberto Gagliardi Competition, and was selected as a Finalist for the Lewis Van Haney Philharmonic Prize in 2011 and 2015. Growing up in Plano, Texas, Hawkes was a trombonist in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra for four years and received its Outstanding Instrumentalist Award.
Hawkes graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Trombone Performance at Southern Methodist University in 2014. Upon seeing a large hole in the path from student to professional in a very specific field, he utilized the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program at the Meadows School of the Arts, creating and completing the very first known Bachelor of Arts focusing on Orchestral Management. He also pursued studies as a Graduate Diploma student at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Hawkes plays a 1979 Bach 42B, restored and rebuilt by Dallas-area brass technician Eric Edwards and treated by Ron Pinc of R.J. Pinc Brass Repair. He also plays Greg Black Mouthpieces exclusively in his classical playing. Additionally, he runs Hawkes Arts Consulting, LLC; an arts consulting firm specializing in assisting smaller performing arts organizations.