Merel Martens (Netherlands)
Merel Martens is a full-time choir leader, arranger, teacher and coach. In May 2015 she received a Master’s degree in ‘Vocal Leadership’ from the Royal Academy of Music (DK), studying with Jim Daus Hjernøe, with the highest possible honors. She is also influenced by colleagues such as Peder Karlsson (ex-The Real Group) and Roger Treece (co-writer Vocabularies – Bobby McFerrin). In the Netherlands Merel is well-known for her involvement in the award-winning vocal groups “Pitch Control”, “MAZE” and “VOÏSZ Vocal Projects”. She is also vocal coach for several professional groups: “The Junction” (NL), “Perpetuum Jazzile” (SI), “Vocalocity”(IL) and “The Keystones” (FR).
Merel has been inspired by The Real Group ever since The Real Group Festival in 2012, and has worked closely with Peder, Anders Edenroth & Katarina. She enjoys running workshops for choir leaders, coaching vocal groups and choirs, and especially working on Circlesongs, pop repertoire and vocal games. She aims to create a positive flow of energy in rehearsal and to keep all participants feeling safe and involved. Merel’s vocal leadership style draws strongly on the methods of her mentor Jim Daus Hjernøe and the notion of Vocal Painting.
In September 2014 Merel founded the “Dutch Organic Choir”: a group based on rotating leadership and partly-improvised original vocal music, unbounded by stylistic definitions. Since November 2015, Merel has brought the ‘Vocal Leadership’ method to two Dutch conservatories, educating choir leaders during courses and a master’s degree in this relatively new discipline. In June 2018 Merel was awarded ‘Best choir conductor of 2018’ by the Netherlands Choir Festival, and MAZE was awarded ‘best Choir of the Netherlands’.