Derek Polischuk


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, where he received the Doctor of Music Arts degree in Piano Performance with distinction under the tutelage of Daniel Pollack.  

Polischuk’s 2013 solo piano recording “Terra Incognita” for the Blue Girffin label has received international critical acclaim. Colin Clark 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 from 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 musicians at every age, ability and background, Polischuk has presented at conferences around the world, including the Music Teachers National Association, the National Group Piano and Pedagogy Conference, the Multidisciplinary Research in Music Pedagogy Conference, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, the DOCTRID Conference in Ireland, the ABLE Assembly at Berklee College, and at universities and conservatories across China. Polischuk serves on NCKP’s Committee for Teaching Students with Special Needs and the Advisory Board of the Orange County School of the Arts Pianist Program. Polischuk is a founder and director of the “Celebrating the Spectrum” Piano Festival for advanced pianists on the Autism Spectrum. Polischuk’s book “Transformational Piano Teaching,” described by Dr. Alice M. Hammel of James Madison University as “a world of piano pedagogy where anyone and everyone is welcome and included in the art and joy of playing the piano” and Stewart Gordon of the University of Southern California as “a landmark in the field of piano pedagogy” is available from Oxford University Press. 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.

Derek Polischuk headshot