Derek Bermel with the Prometheus Modern Ensemble | Merit School of Music | Classical | Chicago Reader
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Derek Bermel with the Prometheus Modern Ensemble 

When: Sat., Sept. 14, 1:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $30-75
There’s no shortage of worthwhile and exciting concerts at this year’s ambitious International Beethoven Project Festival, which began on Sat 9/7 and runs through tomorrow, mostly at the Merit School of Music. Its schedule gives equal weight to old-school canon and new works, and one of the most enticing programs is devoted to the work of New York composer and clarinet virtuoso Derek Bermel, who will play his own music with one of the festival’s house bands, the Prometheus Modern Ensemble. I wasn’t familiar with Bermel until I heard last year’s vibrant Canzonas Americanas (Cantaloupe), performed by Alarm Will Sound, which showcases his easy facility at working elements from jazz, pop, and various South American styles into a lush orchestral setting; some of the older pieces on today’s program also attest to his open ears, among them the propulsive “Mulatash Stomp” (1991), whose violin parts suggest the stormy turbulence of tango, and “Tied Shifts” (2004), a raucous string piece commissioned by Eighth Blackbird that’s inspired by Bulgarian folk music. Bermel will also join the fantastic Jack Quartet on Fri 9/13 for a program that includes his piece A Short History of the Universe. —Peter Margasak



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