A native New Yorker, in 2009 he wrote A Shout, a Whisper, and a Trace to honor his hometown as well as the great expatriate Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, whose sometimes sorrowful letters from New York to his friends and students were an inspiration.
Bela Bartok was suffering from homesickness and illness, and found his New York environs alien to him, says Bermel. The letters provided a new framework for which the composer to look at his familiar city.
Mr. Bermel has appeared in Kalamazoo on several occasions as a soloist and composer. He expressed his appreciation to Kalamazoo musicians and conductor Raymond Harvey for bringing his music to the region.