The violinists of Black Marble are the co-directors of the internationally acclaimed baroque ensemble, REBEL, with whom they record and concertize extensively in the U.S. and abroad. The name ‘Black Marble’ derives from the English translation of their last names: Schwarz (German, for black) and Marmer (Dutch, for marble). The duo, founded in 2012, has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kendal-on-Hudson Concert Series, Greenburgh Library, Downtown Music at Grace (White Plains), Harvard Business School Concert Series, Cape Cod Early Music Festival, 1731 Concert Series in Jamesport, NY, King Manor in Jamaica, Queens, Suite Concerts in Peekskill and Midtown Concerts in New York City. September 2010 Black Marble was featured on WQXR-FM’s ‘violin month’, in an interview and video performance hosted by Jeff Spurgeon. The ensemble aims to explore the rich, virtuosic and rarely performed repertoire written for two violins by Leclair, Telemann, Mozart, Reger, Spohr and Bartok, amongst others, on instruments and bows appropriate to their respective periods. The husband and wife team perform on equally well-matched Stainer violins dated 1660 and 1668, respectively. The 2019-2020 season includes performances in Oakland, New Jersey, and at libraries in Ossining, Elmsford, Shrub Oak and Peekskill, NY.
Black Marble Artist Bios
JÖRG-MICHAEL SCHWARZ, a prize winner in several international violin competitions, is one of North America’s leading Baroque violinists. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe. A recipient of numerous grants and scholarships, he studied violin with Max Rostal in Germany and with Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School in New York. Early on in his career Mr. Schwarz concentrated on chamber music, studying with the Melos, Amadeus, and Juilliard Quartets, and with Felix Galimir. As soloist he has appeared with the Scottish Chamber Symphony under Yehudi Menuhin, Berne Symphony Orchestra, New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra, and Heilbronn Symphony Orchestra, among others. Co-founder of the Ravel Quartet Köln (1978-81), the Orfeo Chamber Soloists (1979-82) and the Monadnock Quartet (1984-88), he was concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra (1984-85) and the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra (1984-88).
As Baroque violinist he has performed with Marie Leonhardt, Jaap Schroeder, Albert Fuller, Reinhard Goebel, the English Baroque Soloists, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Anima Eterna, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, and Musica Antiqua Köln. He has also served as concertmaster of the Connecticut Early Music Festival Orchestra (1990-92), the Barockorchester Stuttgart (1992-96), Grande Bande (New York), the New York Collegium, American Bach Soloists, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.
He has played under the batons of Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Brüggen, Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, John Eliot Gardiner, and Roger Norrington and has been a featured performer at the early music festivals of Boston, Berkeley, Utrecht, Stuttgart, Regensburg, Göttingen, Halle, Bruges, Vienna, Ambronay, and Helsinki.
His recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was released in 1992 on Chesky Records; he can also be heard on Channel Classics, ERATO, Sony, Smithsonian Press, Arabesque, PGM, Vox Classics, Koch International, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Hänssler Classic, Naxos, ATMA Classique, Dorian/Sono Luminus, and Bridge Records.
Mr. Schwarz has presented lecture demonstrations on the famed Stradivarius and Amati collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City and his playing can be heard on the headphones at the museum’s Musical Instruments Collection. In October 2016 Mr. Schwarz made his solo début at New York’s Lincoln Center with the American Classical Orchestra in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Among many other interests Mr. Schwarz is an avid wine enthusiast.
KAREN MARIE MARMER studied violin at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College with Israel Chorberg and Ruth Waterman and at the Yale School of Music with Syoko Aki. Her baroque violin studies were with Jaap Schroeder at Yale, Marilyn MacDonald at the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin and with Lucy van Dael at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
Praised for her playing as “subtle and supple” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) and as posessing “great temperament and color” (St. Paul Pioneer Press), her international career has included collaborations with Capriccio Stravagante (Paris), the Nederlandse Bach Vereniging (The Netherlands), Ensemble Baroque de Mateus (Portugal), the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), Les Idées Heureuses (Montréal) and the American Bach Soloists in San Francisco. She has served as a principal player of the New York Collegium, American Classical Orchestra and the Grande Bande in New York, as well as the Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra for which she served as co-concertmaster from 1991-96. In 2010 Ms. Marmer served as guest concertmaster of the venerable Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity series in New York City in a performance of Bach’s St. John Passion. She has performed under the batons of Ton Koopman, Frans Brüggen, William Christie, Philippe Herreweghe, Reinhard Goebel, Frieder Bernius and Gustav Leonhardt, among others, and has concertized throughout Europe with Marie Leonhardt.
With REBEL, Ms. Marmer concertizes extensively in Europe and North America, and has recorded for most major European radio stations as well as National Public Radio in the U.S. She has been heard at early music festivals in Boston, Berkeley, Utrecht, Bruges, Halle, Regensburg, Herne, Stuttgart, Göttingen, Vienna and Ambronay (France). Her recording credits include Vox Classics, PGM, Chesky, Koch International, ATMA Classique, Hänssler Classics, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Bridge Records and Dorian Recordings.
While at Yale, Ms. Marmer was the artistic director and producer of an innovative series of chamber music concerts which brought together students from the undergraduate, graduate and alumni sectors. In the year 2000, Ms. Marmer founded the Westchester, New York-based chamber music series, MUSICA ANTIQUA NOVA, of which she has been producer since its inception. In addition to her duties as REBEL’s manager and publicist, as a passionate cultural advocate she has served on the adjudicating panels of the Westchester Arts Council and the New York State Council on the Arts. In Spring 2008, Ms. Marmer was awarded the John Castellini Silver Jubilee Award for distinguished alumna from her alma mater, the Aaron Copland School of Music. Ms. Marmer is also artistic director of the ensemble, Tableau Vivant and co-director of Black Marble Duo along with her husband, violinist Jörg-Michael Schwarz.
Alongside music, Ms. Marmer’s interests include performance art, poetry, acting, environmental and historic preservation, the diverse spiritual traditions of the world and mysticism, with a special focus on the Kabbalah. She is trained in several healing modalities and is a certified instructor of Laughter Yoga.