Classical, jazz, pop, rock, folk, blues and gospel effortlessly intermingle in the music of New York composer, Derek Bermel. Indeed, he's been described as "an eclectic with wide open ears." This month sees performances of his orchestral music by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and by the New England String Orchestra.
On 13 December the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Cliff Colnot present Bermel's Three Rivers (2001) for large ensemble, as part of their MusicNOW series at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance:
"Three Rivers by Derek Bermel, a new-music composer who has dipped into rock and African music, finessed the distinction between big band and chamber ensemble. As the themes overlapped, grappled, fused and pulled apart, the earthy beat and angular melodies made the music swagger like a more abstract West Side Story."
More details and ticket info here.
Soul Garden is the beautiful title track from Bermel's first CD release and features a gospel-inspired solo viola accompanied by string quintet. Bermel has now enlarged the accompaniment to string orchestra and this new version was taken up by the New England String Orchestra in performances on 4 and 5 December with violist Nadia Sirota.
Bermel is also curating a concert season called The Harmonic Series at Princeton University, where he is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study. Following performances of Soul garden in the concerts there on 5 and 6 November, Bermel next hosts an event called "Mallet Madness" on 10 and 11 December.