Frequency is excited to perform with special guests: pianist Cristina Valdés and violinist Cordula Merks on our debut concert on Sunday, Oct. 23! Cristina is on the faculty at the University of Washington, where she teaches piano and directs the Modern Music Ensemble. Cordula is Assistant Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony and Concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet. Cristina and Mike will play Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata, and Cordula will join Mike, Melia and Sæunn on Janacek's String Quartet No. 1 ("Kreutzer Sonata"). We are thrilled to have Cordula and Cristina play with us!
Considered one of today’s foremost interpreters of contemporary music, Cristina Valdés is known for presenting innovative concerts with repertoire ranging from Bach to Xenakis. She has performed across four continents and in venues such as Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Ms. Valdés has appeared both as a soloist and chamber musician at festivals worldwide including New Music in Miami, the Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva in Mexico City, Brisbane Arts Festival, the Festival of Contemporary Music in El Salvador, Havana Contemporary Music Festival, and the Singapore Arts Festival.
An avid chamber musician and collaborator, Ms. Valdés has toured extensively with the Bang On a Can “All Stars”, and has performed with the Seattle Chamber Players, the Mabou Mines Theater Company, the Parsons Dance Company, and Antares. She has also been a featured performer on both the Seattle Symphony’s Chamber Series and [UNTITLED] concerts.
Cristina has appeared as concerto soloist with the Johns Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Seattle Philharmonic, Philharmonia Northwest, the Eastman BroadBand, and the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, she performed the piano solo part of the Ives 4th Symphony with the Seattle Symphony.
Cristina Valdés joined the faculty of the UW School of Music in Fall 2014 as an artist in residence in the keyboard program.
Violinist Cordula Merks joins the University of Washington School of Music in Fall 2016 as an artist-in-residence in the strings program.
Assistant concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony, Merks joined the first violin section of the Seattle Symphony in May of 2011. Before moving to Seattle, she 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. This last summer she played as part of Claudio Abbado's famous Lucerne Festival Orchestra and toured 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 a daughter, Mia.