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Principal Cello

Rachel Mercer

Last updated: April 19, 2024

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 is Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and Artistic Director of the “5 at the First” Chamber Music Series in Hamilton. Rachel regularly collaborates with her longtime duo partner, pianist Angela Park, and was cellist of Juno Award–winning piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada (2008–2020), AYR Trio (2010–2020), and the Aviv Quartet (2002–2010). Rachel has given masterclasses across North America, South Africa, and in Israel and has given talks on performance, careers, and the music business. An advocate for new Canadian music, Rachel has commissioned and premiered over 25 solo and chamber works, including cello concertos by Stewart Goodyear and Kevin Lau.

She can be heard on the Naxos, Naxos Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, Analekta, Atma, Dalia Classics, and EnT-T record labels, and released a critically acclaimed album of the J.S. 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 plays a 17th-century cello from Northern Italy.

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Projects & initiatives

New album Clara - Robert - Johannes, Atmosphere and Mastery

Atmosphere and Mastery

The NAC Orchestra’s new album is part three in a recording cycle that explores the closely intertwined personal and artistic connections between three musical giants: Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

NAC media featuring Rachel Mercer