The Coast Recital Society presents the trio of Berick Mercer Park on Sunday, Nov. 27 at Raven’s Cry Theatre. The trio features the renowned talents of Yehonatan Berick on violin, Rachel Mercer on cello and Angela Park on piano. The trio has been playing together for approximately 10 years and has developed a special chemistry. “We know each other so well,” says Mercer. “It’s this wonderful relationship where everything flows and feels good. We really enjoy working together.”
Dividing her time between Toronto and Ottawa, Mercer is the Associate Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Artistic Director for “5 At The First” chamber music series, and plays in several duos, trios and quartets, including the prize-winning, all-women Ensemble Made in Canada. “It can be a lot of work,” admits Mercer of the business side of music. “But the moment you’re in rehearsal or in concert, that all goes away. There’s always a big reward at the end.” Ensemble Made in Canada is also one of three groups appointed Artists in Residence at the University of Western Ontario. “We work with students,” says Mercer. “From coaching them to reading composers’ work and workshopping them, to giving talks on the music business and playing concerts.”
Among the many prizes and acknowledgments Mercer has received during her illustrious career is earning the opportunity to play rare and special instruments from the Canada Council For The Arts Musical Instruments Bank. To critical acclaim, she recorded the Bach Suites for solo cello in 2014 playing a 1696 Bonjour Stradivari, currently valued at $12 million. These days her cello, also from the Instrument Bank, is a 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus made from Italian black poplar rather than the usual maple, giving it a rich alto sound. “They’re so old and special, they have their own personality,” says Mercer.
The program of music for the trio’s concert includes Shubert’s Piano Trio in E Flat Major, Haydn’s Gypsy Trio, Ysaye’s Violin Solo Sonata No.3, and Gaspar Cassado Suite for solo cello, . They will also be doing some outreach concerts, visiting Christenson Village and Chatalech Secondary School. “It’s a great opportunity to get out to BC when it’s getting really cold here,” Mercer laughs. “We love playing together [bringing] a balance of a contemporary performance with the history of the music.”
Berick Mercer Park plays at the Raven’s Cry Theatre Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $25, $10 for students, available from the Coast Recital Society by calling 604-885-0991.