Cordula Merks is the concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Previously she held positions as First Assistant concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony, and, before moving to the US in 2011, as concertmaster with Germany's Essen Philharmonic, Bochum Symphony and Bergische Symphony. Cordula also has served as guest concertmaster for many orchestras, including the Houston Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, and Portuguese National Opera, and she performed with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.
When not playing in the orchestra, Cordula enjoys playing as a soloist and as a chamber musician and she has performed in the US, Israel and all over Europe. Also an increasingly active teacher, Cordula is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Cordula was born in Germany and spent her childhood in Holland. She started playing the violin at the age of six and was accepted by the Young Talent Department of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague at the age of twelve. Her teachers have included Shmuel Ashkenasi and Herman Krebbers, among others, and she holds a Performer's Certificate from Northern Illinois University and a Master's Degree ("Examen Tweede Fase") from the Amsterdam Conservatory.
Cordula has won prizes at all Dutch national competitions and at various concerto competitions and international competitions, including the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Austria.