3 hours after playing Prokofiev concerto, soloist gives birth

3 hours after playing Prokofiev concerto, soloist gives birth


norman lebrecht

March 22, 2018

Cordula Merks, concertmaster of San Francisco Ballet, played the Prokofiev first violin concerto last night for the Ballet’s Jerome Robbins Program.

Three hours later, she gave birth to Emmie Sophia Gamburg, weighing in at 7 lbs.

Congratulations to the happy family.


  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Congratulations indeed! Just don’t let your child grow up to be a viola player 😉

  • Ben says:

    Reckless woman … what if her water broke during the performance and need to be evacuated? Selfish, full of herself…. especially if she already knows this is her expecting week.

    Unless…. the Ballet is so cheap and reckless that the management would rather endangers child birth than giving any expecting woman a week off ahead of time.

    Either way, someone is just reckless.

    • Pacer1 says:

      You’re not a musician, are you.

    • Sue says:

      I guess people take the work whenever they can get it. And the baby may have come a week or so earlier than expected!! If the mother could manage it she should be able to do whatever work she likes. In some countries mothers would work long hours until the actual birth.

    • Bruce says:

      What an asshole.

    • Talia says:

      I guess you have a problem with women who can do it all….
      Are you really worried about the concert? If so, all old man should retire early to prevent heart attacks during concerts. Some male conductors had the guts of “ruining” concerts this way. I believe they just wanted some attention (according to your cheap philosophy)

    • Amy says:

      That’s not how labour works dude.

    • Olassus says:

      Emmie Sophia Gamburg is the better for having arrived this way. She’ll surely take up a wind instrument.

      To your point, Hilary Hahn is out front right now in the same late stage just doing her job. More power to her, I say.

    • Helen says:

      Quite simply (and i speak as a musician who has had four babies) had her waters broken on stage, she’d quite possibly have had hours and hours to complete the 20 minute concerto before going into active labour. Whether or not she’d have felt up to continuing is a matter for her and her alone. Your post is ridiculous.

      • Helen says:

        Also – waters breaking leading to concert hall evacuation? It’s not a tsunami of amniotic fluid that’ll engulf everyone in the Stalls but rather five min break while someone finds a mop…..

    • Paul says:

      Ben – I’m guessing that if there’s a chance of rain in the forecast, that you’re hunkered inside your home until it’s over. Sorry Ben, but you need to get out more often.

    • Maryjean says:

      A woman does not always know when she will deliver. If she was not in any form of discomfort then there may not have been any signs. Performing music can relax a body so much that it can be free of pain. How amazing that the child was preparing to be born during a beautiful musical performance. Mother and child was safe and if for any reason the child would have arrived earlier, then I am sure those in attendence would have understood.

    • Faggot. says:

      you are retarded.

  • Alexander says:

    this story is worth to be broadcasted on national TV at least … amazing

  • Kathleen Boyer says:

    We love you Cordula!! You are such a badass!!

  • Sharon says:

    Do you think she decided to finish the concert while having labor pains?

  • esfir ross says:

    Congratulation to Cordula and her Russian husband on birth of their daughter. Cordula’s a excellent violinist, I heard her in concert and beautiful solo’s at “Sleeping beauty” ballet. Look forward to hear her again and again.

  • Helen Tuckey says:

    Strange how it endangers the sanctity of public life if women continue on with their normal lives in paid employment and/or doing something they enjoy; however, there are never objections to them entering a shopping centre, spending money or doing unpaid work. And how much more hazardous to the health of a pregnant woman to pick up a large toddler than a violin!

  • Paul Davis says:

    Lucky baby, to be eased into the world by one of the most marvellous masterpieces of violin literature! Bravo!