st. john/mercer/park trio

Sunday, December 11, 2022 @ 2:00 PM

Three of Canadian classical music’s most exciting voices join together for a beautiful program.

$30/Adult | $25/Student, Senior, or Artist

Performed with such brilliant clarity it took your breath away

Chapala, Mexico


Joseph Haydn Trio No. 38 in D major, Hob. XV:24

Kevin Lau “If Life Were a Mirror…” for violin and piano

Felix Mendelssohn Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66


Photo Credit: Marco Borggreve

Violinist Scott St. John, from London Ontario, is known for his joyful style of music-making and inspiring chamber music coaching. Scott is Concertmaster of the innovative ROCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston, Texas, and returns frequently to the summertime Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. From 2018 to 2021 he was Director of Chamber Music at The Colburn School in Los Angeles.

Early violin success with teacher Richard Lawrence in London Ontario gave Scott a path to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the chance to work with David Cerone, Arnold Steinhardt and Felix Galimir. After winning the Alexander Schneider Competition and playing a Carnegie Hall debut, NYC pulled Scott into its orbit, where Young Concert Artists gave him fabulous opportunities for performance. In addition to a magical year of working at the Disney Store in Times Square, Scott has been Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, and Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University as part of the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

Scott has received an Avery Fisher Career Grant and won a Juno Award for recording Mozart with his sister Lara St. John. He has founded two chamber music awards for students: the Felix Galimir Award at University of Toronto and the Ida Levin Award at the Colburn School. Scott loves chamber music, Dvorak, new music, music by less-known composers, and a great espresso. He has been to all the Canadian provinces, 49 of the United States, and would prefer to travel by train when practical. He is married to violist Sharon Wei and they have a 10-year-old daughter named Julia.

Photo Credit: Bo Huang

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.

Recent seasons included the world premiere of a Cello Concerto by Stewart Goodyear, written for Rachel, supported by the Ontario Arts Council, and premiered with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Rachel also performed Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante with NACO for one of the 50th anniversary concerts of the orchestra, and recorded Canadian composer John Burge’s “One Sail” with the Thirteen Strings Orchestra for release on Naxos. Rachel released two chamber music recordings this season. On Centrediscs, “Our Strength, Our Song”, recorded with her sister, Akemi Mercer-Niewohner (Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra), includes 6 duos by Canadian women, by Violet Archer, Jean Coulthard, Barbara Monk Feldman, and 3 new commissions from Jocelyn Morlock, Alice Ho & Rebekah Cummings. Ensemble Made In Canada culminated its 2 year tour of the Mosaïque Project with a live-streamed video production grand finale concert in FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catherines, which was also the release of the album: Mosaïque. 

Since 2006, Rachel also appears in recital with pianist Angela Park as the Mercer-Park Duo. The duo performs across Canada, presenting the duo repertoire alongside new Canadian works. Their debut disc was released in July 2011 and the duo received Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council and FACTOR support to record all-Canadian music by composers of their generation, released on Naxos Canadian Classics in 2014. They were joined from 2010-2020 by violinist Yehonatan Berick, forming the AYR Trio.

​As a member of JUNO-winning piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada from 2008-2020, Rachel toured regularly across Canada and the United States and performed for schools, seniors’ residences, universities, the Canadian Music Centre, CONTACT (for young entrepreneurs), gave talks on the music business from a performer’s perspective, and regularly workshopped with a range of composers from student to professional, as well as being Artist-in-Residence at the University of Western Ontario. The group’s multiple commissions include John Burge’s JUNO-nominated piano quartet (on Centrediscs) and “The Mosaïque Project”, a cross-Canada tour from 2018-2020 including multi-media and a 14-composer commission. The album won the 2021 JUNO award for Classical Album of the Year (Chamber/Solo).

As a member of the Aviv String Quartet from 2002-2010, Rachel played in halls such as the Auditorium du Louvre, Zurich Tonhalle, Wigmore Hall, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, the Library of Congress in Washington DC, Baxter Hall in Cape Town, St Lawrence Centre in Toronto, and at festivals such as Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence, Lockenhaus, Davos, Colmar, Oslo and Ottawa. The quartet released cds on Naxos and Dalia Classics and celebrated its 10th anniversary with a complete Shostakovich cycle at the 2007 Verbier Festival. Collaborations included performances with Jorg Widmann, Boris Berman, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, James Tocco, Boris Petrushansky, Elisso Virssaladze and Anton Dressler. The quartet also gave masterclasses, coaching and outreach performances in the United States, Israel, South Africa and Canada, including at the University of Toronto.  

Born in Edmonton, Rachel began cello studies at the age of three with Diana Nuttall. She spent formative years with Kristl Armstrong at the Vancouver Academy of Music, where she made her solo debut with the Vancouver Academy Chamber Orchestra at the age of 12. After moving to Ontario, Rachel attended the Royal Conservatory of Music and received the Gold Medal for her Associate Diploma, studying with Susan Gagnon and David Hetherington. She received a BM from the University of Toronto with Shauna Rolston, an MM with honours from the New England Conservatory with Laurence Lesser, and a solo diploma from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Dmitri Ferschtman. Rachel attended Orford, Banff, Holland Music Sessions, Ravinia, Prussia Cove, Scotiafest, Proquartet, the Juilliard Quartet Seminar and the Verbier Academy, for masterclasses with Boris Pergamenschikow, Frans Helmerson, Lynn Harrell, Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Gregor Horsch, Harro Ruijsenaars, Valentin Berlinsky, Valentin Erben, Henry Meyer and Walter Levin.

Photo Credit: David Leyes

Pianist Angela Park has established herself as one of Canada’s most sought-after pianists. Praised for her “stunningly beautiful pianism” (Grace Welsh Prize, Chicago), “beautiful tone and sensitivity” (American Record Guide), and for performing “with such brilliant clarity it took your breath away” (Chapala, Mexico), Angela’s versatility as both soloist and chamber musician has led to acclaimed performances across Canada, as well as in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Mexico.

Angela has performed for such series as Montreal’s Pro Musica, Ottawa Chamberfest, Parry Sound’s Festival of the Sound, Winnipeg Virtuosi, Debut Atlantic and Prairie Debut Tours, CBC Onstage, Orchestra London Canada, Sinfonia Toronto, Stratford Symphony, and the Northern Lights Music Festival in Mexico. She is a founding member of the JUNO Award-winning Ensemble Made In Canada, and the acclaimed Mercer-Park Duo with cellist Rachel Mercer.  Rachel and Angela performed with violinist Yehonatan Berick as the AYR trio from 2010-2020. They also perform together with violinist Mayumi Seiler (Seiler Trio). Since 2019, she has collaborated as a piano duo with Stéphan Sylvestre.

Highlights from recent seasons include concerto performances with Sinfonia Toronto, solo recital for the Piano Bravura series in Toronto, performances with Martin Beaver and members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet for the Toronto Summer Music Festival, and a Canada-wide tour of the Mosaïque Project with Ensemble Made In Canada.

Angela’s discography includes solo piano recordings, a debut album as well as all-Canadian recording with cellist Rachel Mercer, and three recordings with Ensemble Made In Canada. Their most recent Mosaïque album was awarded a JUNO Award for Classical Album of the Year (Chamber/Solo). Angela is also part of a live concert recording of the Suites Hebraiques by Srul Irving Glick with James Campbell, Cameron Crozman, Wallace Halladay,  Elissa Lee, Barry Shiffman, and Sharon Wei. She has recorded for such labels as Centrediscs, NAXOS Canadian Classics, and Enharmonic Records.

Angela has won numerous awards and prizes in major competitions both at home and abroad, including the International Grace Welsh Prize for Piano in Chicago, World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, Canadian National Music Festival, Honens International Piano Competition, and the Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona.

Angela’s formative training began in London, Ontario, where she studied piano with Charlotte Cleland, Sr. Janet Zadorsky, Tina Yanchus-Hibbard, and Ronald Turini. She would further her studies in Toronto, Montreal, and New York with such influential teachers as James Anagnoson, William Aide, Paul Stewart, and Jacob Lateiner. She studied Biology and Music Performance at Western University, completed her MMus in Performance at the University of Toronto, and earned her DMA in Solo Performance from the Université de Montréal. Angela also played violin at the national level for ten years, having studied with Richard Lawrence and Eduard Minevich.

From 2011-2014, Angela was Visiting Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano-Woodwinds at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. She has given masterclasses and educational outreach sessions for universities and communities across Canada, as well as at SUNY New Paltz, Stanford, and Indiana University in the United States. Since 2014, Ensemble Made In Canada has been Ensemble in Residence at Western University in London, Ontario. Angela is currently Assistant Professor of Piano and Collaborative Piano at Western University. She is also on the board of the Stratford Summer Music Festival. 

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