The Quartet

 

„In an age remarkably rich in string quartets of high quality, the Merel Quartet is, in my opinion, one of the very best.“  -- Alfred Brendel

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Commended for their stylistic awareness, maturity of expression and command of form, the Merel Quartet have been captivating audiences since 2002.  An exceptionally communicative quartet, the Merels have received unanimous praise:  „This young ensemble’s music-making is extraordinarily precise and tonally exceedingly well-matched“ writes the Wiener Zeitung (Vienna) and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Zürich) lauded the Merel Quartet for playing „...with utmost expressivity and a subtle sense of form, tone and rhetoric“. 

 

The Merel Quartet has performed extensively in Europe in venues like the Wigmore Hall, Tonhalle Zürich, the Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Ittingen Whitsun Concerts, Lucerne Festival, Salzburger Festspiele and Kunstfest Weimar. Known for their vivid performances, the quartet has excited audiences in Italy, France,  Germany, England, Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. 

 

The quartet enjoys collaborations with artists like Ruth Ziesak, Juliane Banse, Jörg Widmann, Diemut Poppen, Natalia Gutman, Nobuko Imai, Thomas Demenga, Dénes Várjon, and Alfred Brendel.  Known for their versatility, the Merels perform an extensive repertoire spanning three centuries from Bach and Purcell through to contemporary masters like Kúrtag, Saariaho and Holliger. 

 

Frequent live radio performances on Swiss Radio SRF2 and Radio Suisse Romande as well as German Radio SWR2 have brought the Merel Quartet added recognition.  The quartet’s debut album including works by Schumann, Janacek and award-winning Swiss composer David Philip Hefti was praised as the „...outstanding CD-Premier of a first-rate quartet“ (Neue Zürich Zeitung am Sonntag).

 

Performances of works by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn on the Merel’s second album also received high acclaim.  „Permeated with a feverish intensity, with close attention to detail and exquisitely balanced illumination of the voices“  and „..their sound, agile and transparent, with a wide range of tonal colors, is irresistible“ writes Thomas Bopp of Das Orchester.  Cathy Fuller, in her show „New and Notable Releases“ on Boston Public Radio WGBH  proclaimed „This is a stunning recording, brimming with life and longing and sustained by an intelligent sense of line.  The quartet’s devotion to bringing across each of the two quartets as complete unfolding constructions makes the experience all the more poignant.  Gorgeous.“

 

The Members

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Mary Ellen Woodside, Violin

Mary Ellen Woodside is an avid chamber musician, following invitations to festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Lucerne Festival, Ittingen Whitsun Concerts, Young Artists in Concert in Davos, Kunstfest Weimar, Omaggio a Palladio in Vicenza and the International Musicians Seminar Open Chamber Music, Prussia Cove. Chamber music partners have included Joshua Bell, Tabea Zimmermann, Heinz Holliger, Thomas Demenga, Julian Bliss, Nobuko Imai, Hariolf Schlichtig, Christoph Richter and Dénes Várjon and she has been a guest first violinist with Swiss Chamber Soloists as well as with the Gemeaux and Amati quartets.

Ms Woodside has performed internationally as a soloist including double concerti with Tabea Zimmermann, Hariolf Schlichtig and Adelina Oprean and premiers of violin concerti by Aaron Jay Kernis and Martin Derungs. She has recorded CDs of chamber music by Bohuslav Martinu and Robert Blum and with the Merel Quartet CDs with works of Schumann, Janacek and Mendelssohn. She has numerous radio recordings for Swiss Radio DRS2 and for German radio SWR2.

 

M. E. Woodside is a guest concertmaster of the Camerata Zürich, Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Lucerne Symphony. For many years she was the leader of seconds of the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zürich and also served as assistant concertmaster of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra. She is a member of András Schiff’s Capella Andrea Barca.

 

Mary Ellen studied at the Eastman School of Music with Charles Castleman, graduated with highest honors and received the coveted Performer’s Certificate. She won numerous prizes before coming to Europe to continue her studies at the Guildhall School in London with Yfrah Neaman. She was selected as a soloist for Yehudi Menuhins’ «Live Music Now» and won second prize in the Bryan Young Artists Competition and was a finalist in the Washington International Competition and the Kulenkampff Competition in Cologne, Germany. The focal point of her studies were chamber music coachings with mentors including Sándor Végh, András Schiff, György Kurtág, Robert Levin, Alfred Brendel and Ferenc Rados.

"With his bright musical intelligence Edouard has developed a great technique and musical maturity, proving to be an attractive performer received with great enthusiasm from national and international audiences."

– Maestro Howard Griffiths

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Edouard Mätzener, Violin

In his concerts, Edouard Maetzener is determined to reach out, present and perform for audiences of all ages and backgrounds, using his endless curiosity and training from among the best mentors and Schools of Music in the world. 

 

The Swiss-French violinist gave his solo debut at age 12 at the Casino Basel with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra under Howard Griffiths, further concerts include performances with the Basel Chamber Orchester (Ariel Zuckermann), Camerata Zurich (Florian Ludwig), and Basel Symphony Orchestra (Lorenzo Viotti). Furthermore, his appearances brought him to renowned venues in Switzerland, Germany, France, Holland, Israel, Brazil, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

 

The current Soloist of the Migros Cultural Percentage is a recipient of numerous prizes and awards such as the 1st prize at the Baden Cultural Found Competition 2012 and special prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary work, 2nd prize at the International Henri Marteau Competition in 2011, Migros Scholarship in 2011 & 2012 and 1st prize at the Swiss competition for Young Musicians in 2002 & 2006, where he also became Soloist of the Burkhalter Foundation. As a chamber musician, he is laureate of the 2015 Orpheus Competition.

 

Various masterclasses and festivals around the world have led to both solo and chamber music appearances and inspirational encounters with Ana Chumachenco, Vadim Gluzman, Werner Bärtschi, Boris Kushnir, Mikhail Kopelman, Jörg-Wolfgang Jahn, Ida Haendel, Ivry Gitlis and members of the Tokyo String Quartet. 

 

Edouard has regularly performed and toured in numerous chamber music groups, both as a violinist and violist. He is a sought-after player especially in Piano Trios and ensembles such as the 'Sejong Soloists'  or 'camerata armonia'. In addition to his love for chamber music he has a great passion for Klezmer and appears as a founding member of the Klezmer Band 'Cheibe Balagan'.

 

Born in Zurich in 1989, Edouard was invited at age 10 by Maestro Tibor Varga to study with him. In 2004 he became student of Prof. Josef Rissin, with whom he obtained Bachelor degrees with distinction both in pedagogic and performance at the University of Music Karlsruhe. In 2014, Edouard holds a Master of Performance degree from Yale University, where he graduated under the guidance of Prof. Hyo Kang. He completed his studies at the Musikhochschule Basel with a Master of Spezialized Performance, as a student of Prof. Barbara Doll.

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Alessandro D'Amico, Viola

Alessandro D’Amico was born in 1986 in Caracas and began music lessons in 1997 at the local Music School Montalban. From 2002 to 2009 he was a member of the internationally acclaimed „Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra“ and had the opportunity to work with great conductors like Giuseppe Sinopoli, Claudio Abbado, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Heinrich Schiff and Sir Simon Rattle.

Beginning in 2002 Mr. D’Amico began studying with Gerard Caussè and Rainer Schmidt at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid, with Peter Langgartner at the Mozarteum in Salzburg before joining the exclusive „Graduate Course for String Quartets“ in Basel under Prof. Walter Levin, Prof. Günter Pichler and Prof. Rainer Schmidt


Master degrees in Viola studying with Prof. Silvia Simionescu
At the Gaetano Zinetti Chamber Music Competition in 2008, Alessandro D’Amico received an „Honorable Mention“. In addition he has played in masterclasses for musicians such as Nobuko Imai, Veronika Hagen, Atar Arad, Wolfram Christ, Gerard Causse, Ralph Gothoni, Rudolf Barshai, Ferenc Rados and Benjamin Zander.
He is member from Merel Quartet, Camerata Variabile, Ensemble Phoenix Basel and Capella Andrea Barca.

With his first prize win in December 2000 at the International Geneva Competition, Rafael Rosenfeld firmly established his reputation as one of Europe’s most exciting cellists. He toured Europe as a soloist including performances with orchestras like the SWR Stuttgart, the Rotterdam Philharmonic in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zürich, the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande and the Zürich Chamber Orchestra.           

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Rafael Rosenfeld, Cello

Rafael Rosenfeld received his musical education at the Zürich Conservatory and the Lübeck College of Music where his cello professors were Walter Grimmer and David Geringas respectively.  Further inspiration came through world-acclaimed musicians like András Schiff, Steven Isserlis, Sandor Végh, Bernard Greenhouse, and György Kurtág.

 

Rafael Rosenfeld has followed invitations to important festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, the Ittinger Whitsun Concerts, Zürcher Festspiele and Open Chamber Music Prussia Cove.  In 1995 Rafael Rosenfeld became the principal cellist of the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, and the ensemble's youngest member.  In addition he is a member of Andras Schiff's chamber orchestra Cappella Andrea Barca. Since 2002 his focus has been on exploring the string quartet literature with the Merel Quartet.

 

Rafael Rosenfeld is a professor of cello at the Basel Music Academy.