Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra: "InterArts Collaboration: Mango Suite"

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Location Amphitheater

Gate Pass or event ticket required.


Derek Bermel Interarts Residency was supported by New Music USA. To follow the project as it unfolds, visit my project page.

New Music USA Logo Rainbow

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Rossen Milanov, conductor

Pre-performance Lecture



Leonard Bernstein: Fancy Free  [27’]


Derek Bermel: Mango Suite

Synopsis of Mango Suite:

Mango Suite will be a 45-50 minute symphonic work inspired by Sandra Cisneros’s short novel The House on Mango Street.  A seminal work of Chicano literature, the Cisneros story is told through the eyes of a young girl growing up in Chicago, as she encounters identity, alienation, and assimilation issues and turns them in to her own discoveries, struggles, and dreams.

Bermel’s work will reimagine her observations with twelve musical vignettes which explore and emphasize themes such as the natural and supernatural world, cultural identity and alienation, maturity and longing for independence, and disappearance and death. 

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, is our CLSC selection this week. Cisneros will speak Thursday July 20 at 3:30 p.m. in the Hall of Philosophy. 


dance headshots


Theater headshots


Voice headshots

Derek Bermel, composer

Grammy-nominated composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel has been widely hailed for his creativity, theatricality, and virtuosity.  Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Bermel is also Director of Copland House's emerging composers institute Cultivate, served as Composer-in-Residence at the Mannes College of Music, and enjoyed a four-year tenure as artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton. Bermel has become recognized as a dynamic and unconventional curator of concert series that spotlight the composer as performer. Alongside his international studies of ethnomusicology and orchestration, an ongoing engagement with other musical cultures has become part of the fabric and force of his compositional language, in which the human voice and its myriad inflections play a primary role.

He has received commissions from the Pittsburgh, National, Saint Louis, and Pacific Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, WNYC Radio, La Jolla Music Society, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, eighth blackbird, Guarneri String Quartet, Music from Copland House and Music from China, De Ereprijs (Netherlands), violinist Midori, and electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans among others.  The Boston Globe wrote, "There doesn't seem to be anything that Bermel can't do with the clarinet." His many honors include the Alpert Award in the Arts, Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, American Music Center's Trailblazer Award, and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Meet the Composer, and Cary Trust; and residencies at Yaddo, Tanglewood, Aspen, Banff, Bellagio, Copland House, Sacatar, and Civitella Ranieri. 

His discography features three critically-acclaimed discs: an all-Bermel orchestral recording that includes the Grammy-nominated performance of his clarinet concerto Voices, (BMOP/sound); Soul Garden, his small ensemble/solo music (New World/CRI); and his most recent disc, Canzonas Americanas, with Alarm Will Sound (Cantaloupe).  Bermel recently made his Cabrillo Festival debut, conducting his Dust Dances, and served as composer-in-residence at the Bowdoin Festival. Recent and upcoming are appearances or premieres include the Intimacy of Creativity Festival in Hong-Kong; the Seattle Chamber Music Festival; Hyllos, his evening-length collaboration with The Veenfabriek and Asko | Schönberg Ensemble, which premiered the Netherlands; performances and recordings with the JACK quartet and Music from Copland House ensemble; and as soloist with the New Century Chamber Orchestra.

Sandra Cisneros, author

Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist, whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, Chicago's Fifth Star Award and the PEN Center USA Literary Award, in additional to the American Book Award. She is the founder of Macondo Writers Workshop and the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation. Cisneros holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University Chicago and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Sasha Janes, choreographer

Director of Contemporary Studies (Resident Faculty) – Sasha Janes was born in Perth, Australia, and received his formal dance training from the Australian Ballet School. He has danced professionally with The West Australian Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Dayton Ballet and Charlotte Ballet. In 2006 Janes was commissioned to choreograph his first ballet, Lascia la Spina, Cogli la Rosa, and since then he has choreographed several ballets for Chautauqua Festival Ballet and NC Dance Theatre including You’re So Fine, Breathe, Glass Houses, Last Lost Chance, Rhapsodic Dances and Dangerous Liaisons. Janes now serves as associate artistic director after eight seasons dancing with NC Dance Theatre.  He teaches and choreographs for the Chautauqua School of Dance.

Rossen Milanov, conductor

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Rossen Milanov is in his third season as Music Director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra following two seasons of enthusiastic acclaim. He is also the Music Director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Princeton Symphony, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain.

Mr. Milanov has previously appeared with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the BBC, Baltimore, Mexico, Indianapolis, New Jersey, North Carolina, Seattle, Oregon, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras. His recent season highlights include Tchaikovsky’s critically acclaimed Alexei Ratmansky revival of Swan Lake in Paris with La Scala Ballet and in Zurich with the Zurich Opera, appearances with the Toronto, Colorado, Detroit, Milwaukee, Vancouver, Fort Worth, Aalborg, and National Symphony Orchestras, and his Link Up education projects at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Mr. Milanov has had the privilege to collaborate with some of the world’s finest artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, and André Watts. During his eleven-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Milanov served as Associate Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orchestra’s summer home at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.  

Mr. Milanov studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, and the Bulgarian National Academy of Music. In addition to his musical achievements, Mr. Milanov is a passionate chef and frequently dedicates his culinary talents to various charities.

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