Derek Bermel Interarts Residency
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Derek Bermel on Composing “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 into her own discoveries, struggles, and dreams.
This residency project offers the opportunity to create community dialogue with the arts as a catalyst for conversation. Both Mr. Bermel and Ms. Cisneros will be in residence at Chautauqua Institution during the week leading up the scheduled premiere on July 22, 2017. Chautauqua Institution is respectfully asking NewMusic USA to fund Bermel’s residency fee and expenses in order to deepen the impact of the world premiere, and ensure the composer’s presence. Author Sandra Cisneros’ work, The House on Mango Street, has been announced as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for 2017 and talk on this book as well as an interarts panel discussion on the collaboration of Mango Suite will be parts of Ms. Cisneros’s residency at Chautauqua.
The goal of the Mango Suite commission is to not only produce a concert, but to create a week of dialogue around the theme of cultural identity. It is also a goal to encourage this conversation through the arts on a national level. The piece will be co-commissioned with at least four other orchestras. The Princeton Symphony and Columbus Symphony are confirmed partners, both performing the piece on their 2018–2019 seasons. Partnering this commissioned work will be a community Diversity Dialogue, created with Chautauqua Institution’s Director of Religion, Dr. Robert Franklin. Dr. Franklin is the retired President of Morehouse College and speaks about diversity and cultural identity on an international basis. A guide for this Diversity Dialogue will be created by Chautauqua Institution and shared with all commissioning partners and with any other community interested in the commission following its premiere.
Mango Suite will be a 45-50 minute symphonic work by Derek Bermel, 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 re-imagine 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, and will include a soprano soloist singing and speaking the vignettes to frame the orchestral movements. Two of the vignettes will also be expressed through solo dances.
The collaborating groups are all in residence at Chautauqua Institution and include the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra conducted by Music Director Rossen Milanov, the Chautauqua Opera Company with General/Artistic Director Steven Osgood, the Festival Schools Voice Department chaired by Marlena Malas, the Charlotte Ballet with Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefeux and Master Teacher Patricia McBride, the Chautauqua Theater Company with Artistic Director Andrew Borba, and the Literary Arts Program, overseen by Vice President of Education Sherra Babcock. This collaborative project and involved arts companies are overseen by Vice President and Director of Programming Deborah Sunya Moore. This work will be the 5th interarts work that brings orchestra, song, spoken word, and dance together for a full-length, evening presentation.
Start and End Dates
07/24/2017 — 07/27/2017
Chautauqua, New York