December 2015 marked Cordula Merks’ first season as Concertmaster with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Prior to that, she served as Assistant Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony.
Before moving to Seattle, Cordula held concertmaster positions with Germany’s Essen Philharmonic, Bochum Symphony and Bergische Symphony. She has served as a guest concertmaster for many orchestras, including the Dresden Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, West German Radio Orchestra, Cologne Opera and Portuguese National Opera. Cordula’s summer appearances have included playing in Claudio Abbado’s famous Lucerne Festival Orchestra as well as touring in Europe as concertmaster of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
When not playing in the orchestra, Merks enjoys playing as a soloist and especially as a chamber musician and has performed in the US, Israel and all over Europe.
Merks was born in Germany and spent her childhood in Holland. She started playing the violin at the age of 6 and was accepted by the Young Talent Department of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague at the age of 12. Her teachers have included Shmuel Ashkenasi and Herman Krebbers, among others and she holds degrees from the Amsterdam Conservatory and Northern Illinois University.
She has won prizes at all Dutch national competitions, at various concerto competitions and at several international competitions, including the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Austria.
Cordula is married to Seattle Symphony contrabassoonist Mike Gamburg, and together they have two children.