He started his journey through exploring the angles of the classical guitar. Flamenco, Brazilian, and other world music were prominent parts in that world and in Barmey’s development. He sought to find possibilities of the guitar which were, and still are, relatively unknown or unrealized in his opinion. The guitar is so diverse in its capabilities, and it has so much to say that hasn't been said yet. The open string textures of Carlo Domeniconi's "Koyunbaba," the percussiveness of Rodrigo and Gabriela, the fluidity and passion of Paco de Lucia. Barmey saw these artists as key pioneers who launched Barmey into his life-long pursuit of music.
With this obsession, Barmey ended up traveling around the world. He studied flamenco in Spain under Oscar Herrero and also performed in various international events such as the XVIth annual guitar festival in Bruno, Czech Republic, and also in his native country Cambodia through the non-profit Cambodian Living Arts.
With his critically acclaimed classical guitar, fusion, rock group Kmang Kmang, he was awarded a 2012 Illinois Arts Council Grant, and a 2012 Chicago Community Arts Program grant which supported the release of their first album and music video. Through this project, Barmey explored other multi-disciplinary mediums such as choreography, video, and mixed media.
In those fields, Barmey worked with Deboka Films, Laboratory Dancers, choreographer Laura Chiaramonte, MOCA Miami, and 2009 Art Basel’s Irreversible Magazine’s Green Art Fair, and Giants in the City inflatable art project with the city of Miami. He also exhibited his own related visual works at Defibrillator Performing Arts Space in Chicago, Miami-Dade College, and Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables, Florida.
All that background in guitar led to composing, no longer just for himself, but for other artists and ensembles. He began writing for as many different instrumentations as possible, orchestral, choral, percussion, band, chamber, electronic.. He was extremely lucky to have had the Cleveland Orchestra perform one of his pieces, "Symphony No. 1." He also received commissions from Gaudete Brass Quintet, Avanti Guitar Trio, Bach and Beethoven Ensemble, and Midwest Philharmonic Children’s Orchestra. He also worked with University of Wisconsin Madison’s Javanese Gamelan, Chicago Opera Vanguard, Dinu Ghezzo, Ken Ueno, Elliot Gattegno, Haitian artist Erol Josue, Eduardo Leandro, Yeon-Su Kim, Ney Rosauro, and Steve Reich. Some other invaluable experience include his master classes with giants of the classical world Manuel Barrueco, Roland Dyens, Yo-Yo Ma, and Philip Glass.
Naturally, this pursuit of composition led Barmey back to developing music for himself in a more independant way, thus began an obsession with music production. He became fascinated by the unlimited amount of applications, processes, and sounds that are available with electronic music and technology. Similar to how he relates to the guitar, electronics had an equally limitless potential. All these influences and experiences are what have shaped Barmey’s truly unique and diverse voice.
His diligence and leadership also showed through his work as a teacher and organizer. Barmey was featured on NBC Chicago news for his music education work with kids in collaborations with the Apple Store and Chicago’s New Music School. In 2015, Barmey opened a community arts center in the southside of Chicago called 32Forty. There, he organized classes and events in music, visual arts, and dance.
He now focuses his time between Chicago and Los Angeles, scoring different types of media with a specialization in orchestra, and electro-acoustic styles. While he is not composing for media, Barmey is a music writer and contributer for PressPassLa.com. You might also find Barmey working on his solo guitar and electronics project “UngChuck.”