The popular music video platform YoungClassicals has recorded Merel in a rare Sarabande by Enescu:
“I find it really interesting how the context of the time we live in is so closely connected to the music that is being written. That’s why it is important to me to commission new works from contemporary composers, who are living now and can relate to my time. At the same time, I very much enjoy playing the repertoire that has led us to where we are now. For me, Enescu’s Sarabande is so special because it represents these two different worlds and shows the development of classical music through history, in just a few minutes.
In this composition, Enescu clearly refers to Bach; the structure, the meter, and the timbre are all the same as Bach’s Sarabandes for solo violin. But harmonically he suddenly brings it to a new era, allowing the listener to experience two different eras at the same time.” – Merel
Merel loves to improvise and create music on the spot and regularly invites other musicians to collaborate with her in her “Free Classical” improvisation project (improvisation with a free form and a sound that is closest to contemporary classical music).
Last week accordionist Wilco Oomkes joined forces and this track was one of the results of their session.
Merel about Nonaba: “The name of the improvisation is related to the form. When I improvise I often end up in a cyclic form, that is, repeat the beginning theme at some point to end the piece, just because it feels natural to do so. This time we decided consciously not to stick to this ABA form, but ended up bringing back a theme more than I expected. The result is almost like a “theme and variations” structure. I’m curious what you think of it!”
On the 28th of April Merel performed with erhu (a two-stringed Chinese “violin”) player George Gao (Gao Shaoqing) at Amanyangyun in Shanghai together with three colleagues from Paris. Check out this blog post about the event. The repertoire included both Western and Asian classical music.
Merel is a strong advocate for classical music and even conducted a research project at the Erasmus University on how to attract younger audiences for classical orchestras. The university just published a video that went “viral” on Facebook, in which Merel explains the value of classical music for young people:
If you’d like to know more about the research, do drop us an e-mail at email@example.com and we can send you the thesis on this topic.
On the 18th of October Merel performed at the new concert hall in Hamburg, Germany: the Elbphilharmonie, which is the most expensive concert hall ever built. Merel performed Fratres by Arvo Pärt a.o. for a sold-out hall.
A new violin concerto, dedicated to Merel, has been written by composer Mathilde Wantenaar over the last year. The concerto had its successful premiere on the 20th of May in Alkmaar with the Alkmaars Symfonie Orkest. Special about this work is that it has been written especially for violin and amateur orchestra, unique in music history! Dutch newspapers De Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, and Alkmaarse Courant all wrote about it. Want to know more? A video of the premiere will be posted soon.
The composition has been funded by the VSBfonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Hofstee stichting.
Dutch Newspaper De Volkskrant wrote about the initiative in a big interview with Merel and the composer:
“Merel Vercammen (28) speelt betoverend viool, improviseert in klassiek en jazz, heeft een master op zak in ‘music cognition’ en stroomt over van ideeën. Met haar voorstelling over muziek en het brein, Het Nieuwe Mozart Effect, koppelt ze intelligentie aan muziek. En nu heeft ze een gat in het vioolrepertoire ontdekt. Zaterdag gaat in Alkmaar een compositie in première die ze speciaal liet schrijven voor amateurorkest en een professionele vioolsolist. Die combinatie was er nog niet.”
NRC Handelsblad also wrote about the new violin concerto, and Merel performed live on Radio4 (Opium) to promote the concert. Listen back here.
Additionally, an interview with Merel and Mathilde appeared in Alkmaarse Courant:
Violinist Merel Vercammen graduated with highest distinction from the Royal College of Music in London and was a prize winner of the London Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition and the Dutch National Competition for Young Music Talent. Merel also completed a Master of Science in Music, Mind and Brain and is currently living in The Netherlands.