December 2015 marked Cordula Merks’ first season as concertmaster with San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Prior to that, she served as assistant concertmaster of Seattle Symphony.
Before moving to Seattle, Merks held concertmaster positions with Germany’s Essen Philharmonic, Bochum Symphony, and Bergische Symphony. She has been a guest concertmaster for many orchestras, including the Dresden Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, West German Radio Orchestra, Cologne Opera, and Portuguese National Opera. Merks’ summer appearances have included Claudio Abbado’s Lucerne Festival Orchestra as well as touring in Europe as concertmaster of Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
When not playing in the orchestra, Merks enjoys playing as a soloist and primarily 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 6 and was accepted by the Young Talent Department of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague at 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.
Merks is married to Seattle Symphony contrabassoonist Mike Gamburg, and together they have two children.