The Artists

Rafael Rosenfeld

Rafael Rosenfeld, Artistic Direction

With his first prize win in December 2000 at the International Geneva Competition, Rafael Rosenfeld firmly established his reputation as one of Europe’s most exciting cellists. He toured Europe as a soloist including performances with orchestras like the SWR Stuttgart, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zürich, the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Orchestra of Lugano, the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Zürich Chamber Orchestra.


In addition to his success at the Geneva competition, Rafael Rosenfeld won numerous other prizes and awards at national and international competitions including third prize at the International ARD competition in Munich, a special prize at the International Jost competition in Lausanne and the highest award at the 1997 Migros Chamber Music Competition. In 1990 he was selected to represent Switzerland at the Eurovision competition in Vienna and in 1994 he was a finalist at the Tchaikowsky Competition in Moscow. He has made numerous radio and television appearances.


Rafael Rosenfeld received his musical education at the Zürich Conservatory and the Lübeck College of Music where his cello professors were Walter Grimmer and David Geringas respectively. Further inspiration came through world-acclaimed musicians like András Schiff, Steven Isserlis, Sandor Végh, Bernard Greenhouse, Ralph Kirschbaum, Menahem Pressler and György Kurtág.


Rafael Rosenfeld has followed invitations to important festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, the Ittinger Whitsun Concerts, Young Artists in Concert, Davos, the Interlakner Festwochen, Zürcher Festspiele and Open Chamber Music Prussia Cove. In 1995 Rafael Rosenfeld became the principal cellist of the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, and the ensemble's youngest member. In addition he is a member of Andras Schiff's chamber orchestra Cappella Andrea Barca.


Chamber music plays a cental role in Rafael Rosenfeld's musical life. For many years he performed as cellist of the Rosenfeld Trio and later was invited to join a trio with the violinist Gabor Takács-Nagy, former first violin of the Takács quartet, and the pianist Dénes Várjon. Since 2002 his focus has been on exploring the string quartet literature with the Merel Quartet.


Rafael Rosenfeld is a professor of cello at the Basel Music Academy.

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Mary Ellen Woodside

Mary Ellen Woodside, Artistic direction


First violinist of the Merel Quartet, Mary Ellen Woodside is an avid chamber musician, following invitations to festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Lucerne Festival, Ittingen Whitsun Concerts, Young Artists in Concert in Davos, Kunstfest Weimar, Omaggio a Palladio in Vicenza and Resonanzen in Sils-Maria. Chamber music partners have included Joshua Bell, Tabea Zimmermann, Heinz Holliger, Thomas Demenga, Julian Bliss, Nobuko Imai, Hariolf Schlichtig, Christoph Richter and Dénes Várjon and she has performed as guest first violinist with Signum, Gemaux and Amati quartets.


Ms Woodside has performed internationally as a soloist including double concerti with Tabea Zimmermann, Hariolf Schlichtig and Adelina Oprean and she gave premiers of violin concerti by Aaron Jay Kernis and Martin Derungs. She has recorded CDs of chamber music by Bohuslav Martinu and Robert Blum and with the Merel Quartet CDs with works of Schumann, Janacek, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schönberg. She has numerous radio recordings for Swiss Radio DRS2 and for German radio SWR2.


M. E. Woodside is a frequent guest concertmaster with the Camerata Zürich, Basel Chamber Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra. For many years she held the position of principal second of the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zürich and served prior to that as assistant concertmaster of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra. She is currently a member of Andras Schiff’s Capella Andrea Barca.


Mary Ellen Woodside studied at the Eastman School of Music with Charles Castleman, graduated with highest honors and received the coveted Performer’s Certificate. She won numerous prizes before coming to Europe to continue her studies at the Guildhall School in London with Yfrah Neaman. She was selected as a soloist for Yehudi Menuhins’ “Live Music Now”, won second prize in the Bryan Young Artists Competition and was a finalist in the Washington International and the Kulenkampff Competition in Cologne, Germany. The focal point of further studies were chamber music coachings with mentors including Sándor Végh, András Schiff, György Kurtág, Robert Levin, Alfred Brendel and Ferenc Rados.

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Mary Ellen Woodside, Violin
Edouard Mätzener, Violin
Alessandro D’Amico Viola
Rafael Rosenfeld Cello

Merel Quartet

„An unforgettable interpretation“ writes the Neue Luzerner Zeitung (Lucerne), „The Merel Quartet’s exploration of Schubert’s inner turmoil, how they created a shadowy stillness in pianissimo, was breathtaking.“


Commended for their stylistic awareness, maturity of expression and command of form, the Merel Quartet have been captivating audiences since 2002. An exceptionally communicative quartet, the Merels have received unanimous praise: „This young ensemble’s music-making is extraordinarily precise and tonally excedingly well-matched“ writes the Wiener Zeitung (Vienna) and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Zürich) lauded the Merel Quartet for playing „...with utmost expressivity and a subtle sense of form, tone and rhetoric“.


The Merel Quartet has performed extensively in Europe in venues like the Wigmore Hall, Tonhalle Zürich, the Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Ittingen Whitsun Concerts, Lucerne Festival, Salzburger Festspiele and Kunstfest Weimar. Known for their vivid performances, the quartet has excited audiences in Italy, France, Germany, England, Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.


The quartet enjoys collaborations with artists like Ruth Ziesak, Juliane Banse, Jörg Widmann, Diemut Poppen, Natalia Gutman, Nobuko Imai, Thomas Demenga, Denes Varjon, and Alfred Brendel. Known for their versatility, the Merels perform an extensive repertoire spanning three centuries from Bach and Purcell through to contemporary masters like Kurtag, Saariaho and Holliger.


Frequent live radio performances on Swiss Radio SRF2 and Radio Suisse Romande as well as German Radio SWR2 have brought the Merel Quartet added recognition. The quartet’s debut album including works by Schumann, Janacek and award-winning Swiss composer David Philip Hefti was praised as the „...outstanding CD-Premier of a first-rate quartet“ (Neue Zürich Zeitung am Sonntag).


Performances of works by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn on the Merel’s second album also received high acclaim. „Permeated with a feverish intensity, with close attention to detail and exquisitely balanced illumination of the voices“ and „..their sound, agile and transparent, with a wide range of tonal colors, is irresistable“ writes Thomas Bopp of Das Orchester. Cathy Fuller, in her show „New and Notable Releases“ on Boston Public Radio WGBH proclaimed „This is a stunning recording, brimming with life and longing and sustained by an intelligent sense of line. The quartet’s devotion to bringing across each of the two quartets as complete unfolding constructions makes the experience all the more poignant. Gorgeous.“


„In an age remarkably rich in string quartets of high quality, the Merel Quartet is, in my opinion, one of the very best.“ Alfred Brendel

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Sini Simonen, Violin
Daniel Roberts, Violin
Charlotte Bonneton Viola
Christopher Graves Cello

Castalian Quartet

Formed in 2011, the Castalian Quartet studied with Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet) at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media, graduating with a Masters. They have also worked with Thomas Brandis, Levon Chilingirian, Simon Rowland-Jones and members of the Endellion Quartet.


Formed in 2011, the Castalian Quartet studied with Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet) at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media, graduating with a Masters. They have also worked with Thomas Brandis, Levon Chilingirian, Simon Rowland-Jones and members of the Endellion Quartet.


The Castalian Quartet is rapidly emerging as an exciting voice on the international chamber music scene. Over the last three years they have won top prizes at major international competitions including 3rd Prize at the 2016 Banff International Quartet Competition (where they were the only European quartet to progress to the live rounds), 1st Prize and three special awards at the 2015 Lyon International Competition, and in 2013 1st Prize and the Audience Prize at the Kammermusik Hannover Next Generation Competition. In 2016 they were selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT).

The Quartet has performed widely throughout Europe. Engagements this season include recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker, the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung Mittagskonzerte in Hannover, Quartetaffairs in Frankfurt (broadcast by NDR), the Quelle and Musique de Conques Festivals in France, Festival Autunno Musicale near Naples and Turin Chamber Music Series. In 2017 they will be Artist in Residence at the Festival Musique d'Été à Suzette near Avignon and in 2018 perform the complete Haydn Quartets Op.76 at Wigmore Hall. They continue to give recitals throughout the UK appearing at the Aldeburgh, East Neuk, Winchester, North Norfolk & Deal Festivals.


Highlights over the last two years have included recitals at the Heidelberger Frühling Quartet Festival, the Ceresio Estate Festival in Lugano, the Hamburg Chamber Music Series, International Musikfest Goslar and NDR Concert Hall in Hannover. In the UK the Quartet has appeared at Jubilee Hall Aldeburgh, the Cheltenham Festival broadcast by BBC Radio 3, Lake District Summer Music, Peasmarsh Festival, Purcell Room and Kings Place. Further afield the Quartet toured China in 2013, under the auspices of the British Council. They have collaborated with Nils Mönkemeyer, Alasdair Beatson, the Chilingirian Quartet and Simon Rowland-Jones.


The Quartet has been the beneficiary of awards from the Royal Over-Seas League (2011 Elias Fawcett Trust Award), the Countess of Munster Trust, the Tunnell Trust, the Royal Philharmonic Society (2016 Albert and Eugenie Frost Chamber Music Prize), St. Peter's Eaton Square, Kirckman Concert Society and Mozarteum de France.

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Claudio Martinez Mehner

Claudio Martinez Mehner

Born in Germany in 1970, Claudio Martinez-Mehner began his music studies at an early age at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Madrid in Madrid with Amparo Fuster, Pedro Lerma and Joaquín Soriano. In addition to his piano studies, he participated in the Spanish National Youth Orchestra as a violist and in the Chamber Orchestra of the German School as a violinist, violist and harpsichord player.


Claudio Martinez-Mehner continued his studies at the Tchaikovsky-Conservatory in Moscow, the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, the Fondazione per il Pianoforte in Como; and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. His main professors were Dmitri Bashkirov, Vitalij Margulis and Leon Fleisher. He participated in master classes given by Murray Perahia, Fou Ts’ong, Alexis Weissenberg, Karl-Ulrich Schnabel, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Mstislav Rostropovich, among others. Lately he has received invaluable advice by Prof. Ferenc Rados in Budapest.


At the ages of 13 and 15 Claudio Martínez-Mehner won first prize with special mention in the German “Bundeswettbewerb Jugend musiziert”. He was a finalist in the International Piano Competition “Paloma O’Shea” in Santander (1990) and won first prizes in the international competitions “Pilar Bayona” in Zaragoza (1992), “Fondation Chimay” in Belgium (1993), and “Dino Ciani” in Milano (1993).


As a soloist he performed in most major cities in Europe, United States, Russia, Central America, Japan and Korea, with orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, Filarmónica of the Teatro Alla Scala, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Norddeutsche Rundfunk, Filarmonia Hungarica and most of the major Spanish orchestras. Claudio Martínez-Mehner is an avid chamber music player and has performed with many ensembles in Europe and Asia.


During a seven-year long rest due to an injury, he became interested in conducting, attending master classes with Robert Spano, Seiji Ozawa and Bernard Haitink. He has been invited as a conductor with the “Orquesta Filarmónica de Santo Domingo” and has lead several ensembles of contemporary music. In 1998 he was Associate Music Coordinator of the Spoleto Festival in Italy and Assistant Conductor. From 1999 – 2003 he was Artistic and Academic Director of the Lucena International Summer School and Piano Festival.


He has been assistant piano teacher to Prof. Dmitri Bashkirov at the “Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofía” for several years . In addition, he holds a piano teaching position at the “Conservatorio Superior de Música” in Salamanca, Spain. Currently Claudio Martinez-Mehner is a professor at the Basel Music Academy and at the Cologne University of Music. He is frequently invited to teach master classes in Europe, the US and Korea.


After his astonishing debut at the Miami International Piano Festival in 2010 he was re-invited to perform in 2012, and 2016. He is one of the most important pianists presented in this Festival for his role as a mentor for several aspiring pianists today.


Claudio Martinez Mehner is in the Piano Faculty of the Miami International Piano Festival academy since 2016.

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Freiderike Wagner

Friederike Wagner



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Maia Cabeza

Maia Cabeza

Twenty-four-year old violinist Maia Cabeza recently came to international attention as 1st prize (Mozart prize) winner of the 2013 Leopold Mozart International Violin Competition Augsburg, where she also received other special prizes including the prize for best performance of a contemporary piece. Since her debut as a soloist at age 10, she has gone on to perform with several orchestras in North America, South America and Europe. Recent performances include solos with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Kammerorchester, Munich Radio Orchestra, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Philadelphia Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Reno Philharmonic, and the Detroit Symphony. In addition, Maia has performed with Orquesta Academica del Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Danville Symphony, Chapel Hill Philharmonia, and Sphinx Chamber Orchestra in gala concerts at Carnegie Hall.


A dedicated and passionate chamber musician, Maia performs frequently with various ensembles and pianists in recital. She has been invited to several prestigious music festivals, including the Marlboro Music Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Ravinia's Steans Institute and Verbier Festival Academy. In the summers of 2011 and 2012 she was a featured young artist at Music from Angel Fire, and she has also attended Schlewsig-Holstein, Yellowbarn, Aspen and Prussia Cove International Music Seminar and Open Chamber Music in Cornwall, England. She has had the opportunity to collaborate with distinguished artists such as Nobuko Imai, Ida Kavafian, Dénes Várjon and several members of the Cleveland, Guarneri, Juilliard, Orion and Vermeer String Quartets. In summer 2014, Maia took part in Kronberg Academy's "Chamber Music Connects the World" where she performed alongside Kim Kashkashian, Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff. In 2015, she was invited to perform on the Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music Tour which included a performance in Wigmore Hall, London and a live radio broadcasting on BBC.


In 2004, she was loaned an 1892 Gragnani violin by the Stradivari Society of Chicago, and in 2005, she was awarded a $25,000 fellowship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development towards advancing musical studies. A finalist in the 2009 Philadelphia Orchestra Competition and a semi-finalist in the Michael Hill and Buenos Aires International Violin Competitions, Maia was the 2nd place laureate of the Sphinx Competition and winner of the North Carolina Symphony Competition.


Born in Japan in 1992 of Argentinian heritage, she commenced violin studies in Canada at the age of 4. Accepted at age 13 to the Curtis Institute of Music, she completed her Bachelor of Music there while studying with Ida Kavafian and Joseph Silverstein. During the 2011-2012 season, Maia served as concertmaster of the Curtis Symphony, Chamber and Opera Orchestras as well as leading the Curtis "20/21" contemporary ensemble. Between 2012 - 2014, she was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic "Karajan" Orchestra Academy which included regular performances in the orchestra as well as chamber music concerts in the Philharmonie. Currently, she is working towards a Masters degree with Antje Weithaas at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" Berlin. Her violin is a c. 1700 Carlo Giuseppe Testore on loan as a prize from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.


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Charlotte Bonneton

Charlotte Bonneton

Having studied in her native France at the Grenoble Conservatoire and the Schola Cantorum, Paris, Charlotte was awarded a full scholarship to study with Professor György Pauk at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where she obtained a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours and a Master of Arts with Distinction.


A winner of the 2nd Prize at the Wieniawski International Violin Competition (Junior Category), she subsequently performed as a soloist in the Maison de Radio France, the Auditorium du Louvre (Paris), the Salle Cortot (Paris), the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord (Paris) and the Festival Radio-France in Montpellier. In 2011 she made her recital debut at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, as part of the Holland Music Session’s ‘New Masters on Tour’ programme.


As a concerto soloist, she has appeared with Orchestre National de Lorraine, Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, Royal Academy String Orchestra and the Royal Academy Concert Orchestra, performing works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns and Schnittke.


Whilst at the Royal Academy, Charlotte also studied viola with Matthew Souter, and she is now the violist of the Castalian String Quartet. The quartet has performed widely throughout Europe and has won first prize and three special awards at the 2015 Lyon International Chamber Music Competition and third prize at the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Alongside broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and German station NDR, the quartet’s debut recording of Mendelssohn was released in 2014 on the Champs Hill label.


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Dominic Chamot
Young Festival Artist, Piano

Dominic Chamot

Dominic Chamot was born 1995 in Cologne. Having already started to play the violin two years previously, at age seven he began to teach himself the piano. He eventually took his first lessons aged nine, with Ruriko Goto-Lutz, before being accepted into the ‘Pre-College Cologne’ three years later, where he studied for seven years under Professor Sheila Arnold. Since 2014 he has been a student of Claudio Martínez-Mehner at the Musik Akademie Basel.


Dominic Chamot received recognition in a number of national and international competitions in Europe, winning in total seventeen prizes and special prizes in the course of the last few years. This, along with his regular participation in masterclasses with renowned pianists such as Ferenc Rados, Matti Raekallio and Dmitri Bashkirov, has led to an active career as a young chamber musician and soloist. He has peformed in festivals such as the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the Schwetzinger Mozartfest, and performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the WDR-Sinfonieorchester and the RSO Wien.


Dominic has been generously supported by both the JürgenPonto-Stiftung and the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.

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