Canadian violinist Akemi Mercer grew up in Richmond BC and Oakville, Ontario and studied at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. While still a teenager, she won the Toronto Youth Symphony Concerto Competition and consequently performed the Vivacissimo of Prokofiev's first concerto with the Toronto Symphony. Akemi was always involved in the Toronto music scene, whether playing solo for the Mooredale Concert Series, the Arts and Letters Club, recitals in the Roy Thomson Hall Lobby noon hour series and for the U of T Women's Club, or as a member of ensembles such as the Ebony and Gemini String Quartets and Seiler Strings. In 1998 her quartet won the National Music Festival and later received the Felix Galimir Chamber Music Award from U of T. In 2001 the Gemini Quartet toured Germany and Holland with the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus. As a soloist, Akemi placed first in her category in the Canadian Music Competition and won the Rosebowl Award of the Peel Music Festival.
Akemi has collaborated with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Steven Dann, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Anssi Kartunen, Kenneth Slowik, Anthony Marwood, Steven Isserlis, Mayumi Seiler, Scott St. John, Erika Raum, Analee Patipatanikoon, Roman Borys and William Aide. She has attended festivals such as Banff, Orford, Scotiafest, the Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute, Domaine Forget and the Kuhmo Festival in Finland. She completed her Bachelor of Music Performance with David Zafer and Mayumi Seiler, after which she continued her studies with Victor Tretyakov at the Music College in Cologne, Germany. She has participated in masterclasses with Peter Oundjian, Christian Tetzlaff, Martin Beaver, Jose Luis Garcia, Maricio Fuchs, and members of the Orford, Tokyo, St. Lawrence and Juilliard quartets.
2005-2006 Akemi was a member of the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra with whom she toured Europe and South America and played under such conductors as Micheal Tilson Thomas, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Daniel Gati and Gustavo Dudamel. From 2006-2007 she was in the Orchestra Academy of the Munich Philharmonic and since March 2008 is a permanent member of the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra under Paavo Jarvi. Along with her orchestral playing, she has two string quartets in Frankfurt and is a member of Frankfurt Strings, a string orchestra made from members of the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra. Akemi comes to Canada regularly to play concerts, most recently a performance with her sister Rachel Mercer of Brahms' Double Concerto with the Oakville Symphony, and a Haydn trio cycle with the Mercer-Oh Trio.