Quotes

“Derek Bermel is the quintessential 21st-century musician…staggering eclecticism from a true musical renaissance man.” – Gramophone Magazine

 

"Bermel's music is intricate, witty, clear-spoken, tender and extraordinarily beautiful."

                                                                                    - San Francisco Chronicle

 

"Composer Derek Bermel may not be a household name yet, but if there is any justice in the music world, he soon will be."   - Chicago Tribune

 

"With a background in jazz and rock as well as classical music, the New York-based Bermel is an eclectic with wide-open ears." - Toronto Star

 

“Like the best American composers, Bermel has a trickster’s impulse, an irrepressible will to scramble that makes his music such rich traveling.” – eMusic.com

 

“…a brilliant musical vagabond has made the sounds of the world his palette to create a singular artistic vision." - Sequenza 21

 

“Bermel, a clarinetist as well as composer, is one of the most original voices of American music.”         -DFW.COM (Dallas)

 

"[Three Rivers] is put together with a crafty imagination that constantly keeps the ear off-guard…one sonic knockout I'd love to hear again." -Chicago Tribune

 

"Tied Shifts [is] a fabulously multilayered piece commissioned by eighth blackbird and driven by the complex folk rhythms the composer explored in the wake of a trip to Bulgaria. The staggeringly difficult work was full of ingenious 'conversations.'"  - Chicago Sun-Times

 

 

“[Coming Together is] a piece which is at times laugh-out-loud humorous...it is difficult to conceive this as anything other than a 'tour de force' of performance art…” -Tempo (UK)

“Mar de Setembr” is a short set of five songs to texts by the late Portuguese poet Eugénio de Andrade and written for the Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza. Bermel has produced a small gem…dreamy music of the senses and pure pleasures for Souza’s tongue. The orchestra laps like waves of the ocean.” -Los Angeles Times 

"[The Ends] was cute, funny and brilliantly orchestrated -- the longest, most elaborate bowing out in music after Beethoven's Fifth." – Washington Post

 

"Derek Bermel's Voices, a concerto for clarinet, with the composer playing the solo part brilliantly, was fun, music with brash humor, clever scoring.” - The New York Times

 

“Bermel is one of the most dizzyingly active musicians on the scene today: Brooklyn Phil made an actual collaboration with Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), with astounding and idiomatic arrangements of his hip-hop material by composer Derek Bermel…which were ravingly exciting. The Bey–Bermel collaboration was astonishing, as blistering a musical performance as is possible.” --Brooklyn Rail

“Voices," an elaborate clarinet concerto mixing free jazz, Irish folk melody and funk. In the hands of a composer less assured, all that globe-trotting would seem like affectation; Bermel makes it an artistic imperative." -- San Francisco Chronicle 

“…commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic...Bermel’s Canzonas Americanas channels a host of North and South American musical idioms…in a short 20 minutes, it brings the great American eclectic tradition fully into the twenty-first century. …this disc is a must: Bermel’s is a fresh voice well worth hearing. -artfuse.org

 

CLARINETIST:

"A first rate clarinetist…Brilliant" -The New York Times

"The slow movement [Bolcom concerto] gave Bermel ample opportunity to demonstrate the beautiful tone the clarinet is possible of producing in the hands of a master....Bermel left little room to doubt his command of the instrument as he easily handled the demanding passages." - Greensboro News & Record 

 

‘The lush, sassy tones of clarinetist Derek Bermel flowed irresistibly through the "hot" and "cool" landscapes of this work [Bernstein Prelude Fugue and Riffs], culminating in a riotous jam session that recalls the sophisticated swing of Woody Herman and Benny Goodman.”   - Newsday

“The American composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel recalls the much earlier model of virtuosos such as Rachmaninoff and Kreisler. Bermel's "Theme and Absurdities" is a short, dizzying clarinet solo that spins off into fanciful pyrotechnics. The whole thing ends with a note of humor and hope, trailing off with the sunrise opening of Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra." - Newsday

"Voices, a concerto for clarinet and orchestra, is a crowd-pleaser that is likely to enter the repertory of every orchestra.  Part of the appeal lies in the virtuosity and charisma of the composer, who was soloist. There doesn't seem to be anything Bermel can't do with the clarinet; but the appeal also lies in the music, which adds dimensions of wit and intelligence to melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements of immediate popular appeal. This is the kind of piece that makes your day." - Boston Globe