Rachel Mercer |
Principal Cello

Rachel Mercer

Described as a “pure chamber musician” (The Globe and Mail) creating “moments of pure magic” (Toronto Star), Canadian cellist Rachel Mercer has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across five continents. Grand prize winner of the 2001 Vriendenkrans Competition in Amsterdam, Rachel was cellist of the Aviv String Quartet from 2002-2010. An active chamber musician, she currently plays with piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada, the Mercer-Park Duo, and the AYR Piano Trio (with Yehonatan Berick, violin and Angela Park, piano). In 2010 she co-founded the “5 at the First” Chamber Music Series in Hamilton for which she is Artistic Director.

Rachel has given masterclasses across North America, South Africa and in Israel, as well as talks on topics from performance to self-management, and is Artist-in-Residence at Western University in London, ON. An advocate for new Canadian music, Rachel has commissioned and premiered works including a cello concerto by Kevin Lau, solo music by Vivian Fung and Andrew Downing, and chamber music by Nicole Lizée, Abigail Richardson-Schulte, Sarah Slean, Samy Moussa, and John Burge.

Her first article, on commissioning, was published in 2018 by the Association of Canadian Women Composers Journal. Rachel can be heard on the Naxos, Naxos Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, ATMA, Dalia Classics and EnT-T record labels, and released a critically acclaimed album of the Bach Suites on Pipistrelle in March 2014, recorded on the 1696 Bonjour Stradivarius Cello from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. Rachel joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as Associate Principal Cello in 2016, winning the Principal Cello chair in 2017.