Composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel is a musical omnivore, equally at home at major concert halls and pop music clubs and festivals worldwide; the San Francisco Chronicle writes, “To listen to his music is to run across a wealth of influences, from Bartók and Stravinsky to big band, and from early-period rap to Bulgarian folk music to West African drumming. Also, it seems, theoretical physics.” Now in his fifth season as Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra, Bermel has become recognized as a dynamic and unconventional curator of concert series, including ACO’s SONiC Festival, the Gamper Festival at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and the Cone Series at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (where he served four years as Artist-in-Residence).
Bermel’s performance of his own clarinet concerto Voices on BMOP/Sound was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2009, and he has performed it with orchestras from BBC to Beijing. His discography also includes Migrations with the Albany Symphony and Juilliard Jazz Orchestra (Naxos), Soul Garden, small ensemble/solo music (New World/CRI); and Canzonas Americanas with the ensemble Alarm Will Sound (Cantaloupe), and an upcoming CD with the JACK Quartet.
Over the years he has received commissions from the Pittsburgh, National, Seattle, Saint Louis, and Pacific Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, WNYC Radio, La Jolla Music Society, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, eighth blackbird, Guarneri String Quartet, Music From Copland House, and the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations. His many honors include the Alpert Award in the Arts in Composition, Rome Prize, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, and the American Music Center's Trailblazer Award.
Recent residencies include Nuova Consonanza Festival in Rome, IC Festival in Hong-Kong, Kempten Classix in Germany, Beijing Modern Music Festival, and Hyllos, a collaboration with Veenfabriek and Asko|Schönberg Ensemble in the Netherlands. Bermel’s composition teachers include Louis Andriessen, William Bolcom, Michael Tenzer, William Albright, Andre Hajdu, and Henri Dutilleux.