Cordula Merks is the concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Previously, she held the position of First Assistant Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony, and before moving to the United States in 2011, she was the concertmaster of Germany's Essen Philharmonic, Bochum Symphony and Bergische Symphony. Merks has also served as guest concertmaster for many orchestras, including the Houston Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Portuguese National Opera, and Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.
Merks has a diverse career as a soloist and chamber musician, performing in the United States, Israel and all over Europe. Also an increasingly active teacher, Merks is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Merks 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 12. Her teachers have included Shmuel Ashkenasi and Herman Krebbers, among others. She holds a Performer's Certificate from Northern Illinois University and a Master's Degree ("Examen Tweede Fase") from the Amsterdam Conservatory.
Merks has won prizes at all Dutch national competitions, as well as at various concerto competitions and international competitions, including the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Austria.