DEREK BERMEL has been widely hailed for his creativity and theatricality as a composer and his virtuosity and charisma as a performer. Known for drawing freely from a rich variety of musical genres - including classical, jazz, pop, rock, blues, and gospel - he filters the sounds of the world through his own musical palette, crafting a singular artistic vision. From the complex Bulgarian melodies in Tied Shifts, to Irish bagpipes coupled by Led Zepplin inspired riffs in Voices, Bermel infuses his music with the rhythms and inflections of myriad folk traditions while maintaining a sophisticated and distinctive style of orchestration, harmony, and counterpoint.
As a composer of concert music, Bermel currently serves as the 2006/09 Music Alive Composer-in-Residence of the American Composers Orchestra, curating its ongoing series Orchestra Underground: Composers Out Front. Upcoming 2006/07 projects include the world premiere of The Migration Series for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in conjunction with ACO, and Thracian Echoes to be performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. His commissions include works for the National, St. Louis, Pacific, and New Jersey Symphonies, Westchester Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, eighth blackbird, WNYC radio, De Ereprijs (Netherlands), Jazz Xchange (U.K.), pianist Christopher Taylor, and cellist Fred Sherry. His premiere CD of chamber music, Soul Garden, was released last season to critical acclaim.
As clarinetist, he has appeared throughout the U.S. and Europe, including recitals in New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Detroit, Jerusalem, The Hague, and Paris, and radio broadcasts on both sides of the Atlantic. He has premiered dozens of new works including his clarinet concerto Voices, which created a sensation at the Carnegie Hall premiere, and which he has since performed with the BBC Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Albany Symphony, and others. Bermel is also the founding clarinetist of Music from Copland House and co-artistic director of the Dutch-American interdisciplinary ensemble TONK. In addition, he rocks it with his Brooklyn-based band Peace by Piece as bandeader/singer/songwriter. His upcoming musical Golden Motors - written with librettist Wendy S. Walters - will be produced in fall 2007 by Music Theatre Group. Bermel's many awards include the Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Faber Music, and residencies at Tanglewood, Banff, Yaddo, Civitella Ranieri, and Aspen.