Described as a “pure chamber musician” (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 currently Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and Artistic Director of the “5 at the First” Chamber Music Series in Hamilton.
With a first love of chamber music, Rachel regularly collaborates with her longtime duo partner, pianist Angela Park, and was cellist of 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 works including cello concerti by Stewart Goodyear and Kevin Lau, as well as solo and chamber work by Vivian Fung, Andrew Downing, Alice Ho, Abigail Richardson-Schulte, John Burge, and Jocelyn Morlock.
Rachel 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 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.