Stories » New experiences shape 'Seattle Symphony composer in residence' Derek Bermel / The Seattle Times

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New experiences shape 'Seattle Symphony composer in residence' Derek Bermel / The Seattle Times

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Derek Bermel has learned creativity is a messy thing. It comes in fits and starts, backtracks, changes directions. The Seattle Symphony's 2018-19 composer in residence rarely lands on the compass point he initially charted when working on a new piece of music. And that's kind of the point. "Composing is just a combination of things you know already and things you don't know," Bermel said. "As soon as it starts becoming predictable, where I know how everything's going to sound, it becomes really boring to do. And I think it becomes really boring to listen to. There has to be something where you have to say, ‘I don't know how this is going to read.' "

The Grammy Award-nominated composer, conductor and clarinetist has reached that crux with his latest commission for the Seattle Symphony. The piece, titled "Nine Revolutions," is a synthesis of live string quartet, recorded orchestral pieces, visual content and the cutting-edge immersive sound system at the Symphony's new Octave 9 facility at Benaroya Hall, where it will debut on April 28. PHOTO: (Richard Bowditch)

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