Stories » Derek Bermel holds the spotlight@Maine's Bowdoin Music Festival / Portland Press Herald

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Derek Bermel holds the spotlight@Maine's Bowdoin Music Festival / Portland Press Herald

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For the public, concerts are a summer music festival's obvious drawing cards, but for the festivals and their participants, these performances are only part of the picture. Like several of this country's most renowned festivals – Marlboro and Aspen come immediately to mind – the Bowdoin International Music Festival, held on the campus of Bowdoin College, is actually an intensive, high-level training institute for young musicians. This year, 250 young players have come to Bowdoin for six weeks of study with musicians from orchestras, chamber groups and conservatories around the world. The concerts, in which students and faculty perform together as peers, are simply a part of the festival's educational mission.

The composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel held the spotlight in Leonard Bernstein's Sonata for Clarinet and Piano from 1942 (it was the young Bernstein's first published score) and a work of his own, the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, composed for the JACK Quartet in 2013.

Bermel is one of Bowdoin's success stories. Now a faculty member, he attended the festival as a student 22 years ago, and in his introductory comments, he gave a shout-out to the violinist Lewis Kaplan, who founded the festival in 1964 and directed it until last summer, for consistently championing contemporary music at Bowdoin. (Kaplan was in the audience.) These days, along with his thriving career as a composer, Bermel is the artistic director of the American Composers Orchestra and the director of Copland House.  READ THE FULL Portland Press Herald REVIEW

http://www.bowdoinfestival.org/concerts-and-events/upbeat/