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About Eric - Full Bio

This is Eric Stern’s full bio. Read more about Eric’s specific work as a: vocalist, accordionist, pianist or composer.

Eric Stern tells stories with music. He’s appeared on NPR and performed at the Kennedy Center,The Great American Music Hall, Joe’s Pub in NYC in San Francisco, throughout the Northwest, and internationally from Portland to Paris to Poland.

Stern grew up wandering the aisles of The Wooden Shoe Books and Records (an anarchist collective bookstore that his parents helped found) listening to every record he could get his hands on, then went on to formal training in piano and opera.

Eric Stern is best known for being the founder and artistic director of Vagabond Opera, an ensemble that has achieved worldwide success. Vagabond Opera was created in 2002 by U.S. and European-trained opera singer and composer Eric Stern. Then disillusioned with the classical opera world, Stern created a new context for opera: Performance on a more intimate scale incorporating not only opera but elements of Weimar Cabaret, Arabic and Balkan forms, and the original music that springs from the ensemble’s fertile creative work.

More recently he has founded a new works company, Hungry Opera Machine. Hungry Opera Machine explores the intersection of Opera and Commedia Dell’arte and extends the operatic tradition by choosing operas that not only conform to the classical standard but also ones that may include other forms of music such as jazz and music from everywhere.

Eric Stern is an active and prolific composer. In 2010 he composed the critically acclaimed opera Queen Of Knives and in 2014 the opera, Flour Salt and Moonbeams. Other composing credits include original music for the Portland Revels 2013 as well as writing and arranging for Vagabond Opera ensemble and other projects. In 2007 he was commissioned to compose the music for Tears Of Joy Puppet Theatre production of Pinocchio and most recently composed the full-length opera “Queen of Knives” which premiered in Portland.

Eric Stern is an operatic tenor He studied and performed opera in Philadelphia, New York and Paris and founded the Jewish Theater Project in New Mexico with Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, where he helped produce Neshama, a Jewish arts festival. A fine opera singer, Eric Stern has appeared in over thirty operas, including lead roles in La Boheme (Schaunard), Die Fledermaus (Dr. Falke), Gianni Schicchi (Gerardo), Carmen (El Dancairo) and the American Premiere of The Beggar’s Opera (Ben Lockitt). Eric is fluent in Jazz, Klezmer, Classical and Middle-Eastern idioms and his work has been enjoyed internationally

Eric Stern is a fine pianist and accordionist. He has worked on numerous occasions with acclaimed Middle-Eastern Dancers Rachel Brice and Zoe Jakes. He has studied the arabic and turkish repertoire receiving instruction from Souhail Kaspar (as well as performing onstage with the master percussionist), Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Elias and George Lammam and Souren Baronian.

He is passionate about Bulgarian accordion and has studied with Milen Slavov and Kalin Kirilov.

Eric is Jewish and is a passionate lover and advocate of the Yiddish Language.

Stern is fluent in a variety of genres from jazz piano to Balkan accordion, to Opera. His compositions reflect his scope.

Finally Eric has had the honor or being a featured solo performer many times with Portland Story Theater. It makes sense that with such a wide range of interests he’d have many stories to tell!

Eric Stern appears on the Decemberist’s album Her Majesty and also performs as a soloist or with the Eric Stern Trio. Eric Stern has shared stages with the Decemberists, Devotchka, Pink Martini, Balkan Beat Box, and many more artists