Peter Merckx (°1969)- clarinet
‘Being creative is not a hobby, it is a way of life’.
He finished his studies at the Royal Flemish Academy of music of Antwerp at an early age under master Walter Boeykens. Before the end of these studies he was nominated on the first national competition for musicians organised by the “Social works for performers”. After that he perfected at the Royal Academy of music of Brussels with master Henri De Roeck. During this period he practised orchestra and assisted the VRT-orchestra, the Flemish Opera and the Belgian National Orchestra (among others during the International Queen Elisabeth Contest for violin in 1993).
This was followed by an active period in contemporary music. He founded the QO-2 ensemble (with numerous radio recordings) and went to Amsterdam to participate in the “Ocean-project” by M. Cunningham after an idea of John Cage. A CD with the compilation of the work of Herman van San (with the opening performance and a press conference at the Monnaie Opera in Brussels) was a turning point in his career.
His interest in chamber music brought him in the saloon-ensemble “Grupetto” with which he produced the CD “Titanic’s Last Waltz” and ”Marlene Dietrich, Falling in Love Again”.
It is from this point of view that he started with pianist Alex Roosemeyers to study Jewish music culture. On their recent CD they faced very skilled jazz performers. First-rate crossover!
Together with Ron de Rauw and Rembert De Smet he brought a catching musical comedy, a musical and humorous confrontation between different cultures and musical styles. From Western pop and rock to South American and Balkan music and all topped with a Spanish sauce.
Besides all this there is also room for contemporary chamber music with the “Prometheus-ensemble”, where he contributed to radio recordings and concerts in Belgium, the Netherlands (the Concertgebouw), England, Ireland and France.
Mauricio Kagel’s “Variety” brought him to the “Hermes-ensemble”, where he now has his permanent home. They performed recently in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, England, Austria and Italy.
Recordings with the “Hermes-ensemble”;
- A double DVD box, in collaboration with The Royal Belgian Avant-Garde Film Archive, titled “Surrealism and experiment in the Belgian cinema” with music by composers exclusively Belgian.
- Wim Henderickx; CD-recording ‘Disappearing in Light’ 2011, ‘Triptych’ 2014
In 2013 he won the first price with the interpretation of ‘Schönheit’ of Karlheinz Stockhausen in Kürten.
Besides all this there is still some time to do some studio work with Dominique Pauwels, composer in residence of “The Music Lod” and he is regularly invited by “The Spectra Ensemble”.
The ‘Ergo Woodwind Comfortplayer’ (EWC) –his proper invention-, a second thumbrest for the clarinet is the culmination of three years of personal research and 20 years of experience as a performing clarinettist and music instructor.
Coaching, inspiring and sharing experience is his great passion. He recently worked with the ‘Firgunensemble’ and the ‘Desguin Quartet’.
He is currently principal of the ‘Academie voor Podiumkunsten’ in Ghent. Since 2010 he conducts the symphonic orchestra on a weekly basis.