Derek Bermel

Derek Bermel Clarinet

Derek Bermel has been hailed by colleagues, critics, and audiences across the globe for his creativity and theatricality as a composer of chamber, symphonic, dance, theater, and pop works, and his versatility and virtuosity as a clarinetist, conductor, and jazz and rock musician. He premiered his own critically acclaimed clarinet concerto, Voices, with the American Composers Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, and revisited it with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the BBC Symphony in London, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (John Adams conducting).

Bermel is the founding clarinetist of Music from Copland House, a creative center for American Music. He has premiered dozens of new works for clarinet in appearances as soloist throughout the U.S. and Europe, including recitals in New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Detroit, Jerusalem, The Hague, Paris, and radio broadcasts on the BBC (London), NCRV (Amsterdam), and WQXR (New York).

As a composer, Bermel has received many of today’s most important awards, including the Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Millennium Prize from Faber Music (UK), and residencies at the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Tanglewood, Aspen, Bowdoin, Banff, Yaddo, Sacatar, and Civitella Ranieri. His music is published by Peermusic Classical (US) and Faber Music (UK).

Bermel’s hands-on experience with music of cultures around the world is woven into his language as a composer and performer. He studied ethnomusicology and orchestration in Jerusalem, and later traveled to Bulgaria to study the Thracian folk style, Dublin to study uillean pipes, and Ghana to study the Lobi xylophone.

Bermel is co-artistic director of the Dutch-American interdisciplinary ensemble TONK, which he founded along with electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans and poet Wendy Walters. Well-versed in the classical and jazz repertoire on both clarinet and piano, he trained at Yale University and the University of Michigan, studying clarinet with Ben Armato of the Metropolitan Opera and Fred Ormand at the University of Michigan. He studied composition at Yale University with Michael Tenzer, at the University of Michigan with William Albright and William Bolcom, and later with Henri Dutilleux and Louis Andriessen.