Biography

Clemens Merkel

  • Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 1968
  • Performer (violin)

Clemens Merkel’s unconventional sound defines a new sensibility in contemporary music, through its intimate purity of tone, its settled understanding of microtonal or unconventional harmonic language, and its unhurried sensitivity. He is well known for innovative interpretations of Bach and John Cage, and is sought after by composers worldwide as an inspiration for new repertoire. His diverse collaborators range from the Wandelweiser collective to Montréal’s Musique Actuelle community, and from emerging experimentalists to today’s most revered composers.

For over a decade, Merkel’s unusual sound has fused with that of the Quatuor Bozzini, considered one of the world’s leading string quartets. Together they have mentored an entire generation of creators through the Composer’s Kitchen; have released numerous critically acclaimed albums on their collection qb label; undertake multiple tours annually to be featured at festivals worldwide; and maintain a profound impact on the music scene across Canada and Europe in particular. They nourish Montréal audiences with unusual self-produced events that bridge worlds and cross boundaries of style, generation and culture.

Following an early career in Europe, where he contributed to the continent’s leading ensembles, Merkel has made Montréal his home since 2000. He supports and advocates for new music in Québec and in Canada, and is regularly sought after as speaker, curator and adviser. His presence is felt in academia as well, through articles written for the Revue Circuit, and through his teaching at Concordia University. He’s a passionate chef and lives in Montréal’s Portuguese neighborhood together with his wife Isabelle Bozzini and children Félix and Béatrice.

[source: www.quatuorbozzini.ca] [ii-15]

On Disc

  • “It has been my conviction for a number of years that Music (and Art in general) must simply assume the humble task of describing its own end, or at any rate its gradual extinction,” wrote Italian maestro Aldo Clementi (1925—2011) in 1973…
  • The string quartet sounds sometimes like the silence of a square, a room, a wall or a landscape…
  • A new vision of John Cage, via his complete works for string quartet…
  • A vibrant portrait of the state of the art in Canadian new music…
  • I think of my fundamental activity as a musician as listening, especially to music…
  • Sehr langsam “Very slow” — a tempo indication, as well as the title of this piece…
  • Le Mensonge et l’Identité, written with four hands by the duo Derome/Hétu, was premiered at Deutschlandfunk’s Forum Neue Musik in 2008…
  • Bozzini Quartet joins forces with composer Michel Gonneville for a unique contemporary opera on the “hot” issue of the ecological crisis, based on the thoughts of eminent Quebecois ecologist Pierre Dansereau…
  • The sixth volume of the collection, Arbor Vitæ, pays homage to the Canadian-American composer James Tenney with performances of the complete quartets and quintets…
  • Experimental music, like Thomas Stiegler’s, invites the listener to find his way through unfamiliar acoustical environments…
  • Two contemporary artists, each strong and distinct…
  • This third recording of the collection qb presents Clemens Merkel, violinist of Bozzini Quartet, in l’hiver monastique — 70 consolations harmoniques by Montréal composer Michael Oesterle…
  • “Material can be anonymous…
  • On October 13th, 2005 DAME is proud to present the second Collection QB release: Different Trains by Steve Reich performed by Bozzini Quartet…