Multi-Instrumentalist, Composer and Performer

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 has found an exuberant and satisfying place where operatic vocal technique and popular idioms intersect… while also exposing unlikely audiences to the visceral pleasures of a Bel Canto voice.”

~ The NY Press


Eric Stern is the Northwest’s own premiere operatic tenor, accordionist, pianist, oudist, composer and consummate showman, an unparalleled devo with incendiary stage presence and devilish virtuosity. Trained in the United States and Europe he has performed internationally, garnering critical acclaim for his voice, musicianship and his stunningly imaginative songwriting.

Eric Stern, a mustachioed 36-year-old operatic tenor and accordion player…has a back story nearly as bohemian as the music he plays.”

~ The Washington Post

“To hear Stern intone the introduction to “Ravella” in the stentorian tones of a carnival barker is to hear a man whose love of the absurd is matched only by his complete lack of inhibition.”

~ New York Forward

“… it’s still Eric Stern who’ll knock your socks off. With his masterly accordion work and a robust voice capable of either the sly, light touch of “The Transformation Into Marlene” or the show-stopping sustain and vibrato he employs for occasional snippets of opera, he’s a wonderfully outsized and charismatic character.”

~ The Oregonian


Eric Stern is availabe for performances and workshops. Please contact him:

Full Bio

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.

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.

Although Eric’s parents met at their piano lesson, it is perhaps his accordion playing that runs deepest in his blood, for his father is an accomplished accordionist of Gaullic descent. Eric can play in a variety of styles including the beautiful”Musette” French and Italian styles, as well as styles native to the Balkan region (he has a special love is Bulgarian accordion). Stern is also fluent in the arabic genre and owns a quarter-tone tuned accordion. He plays polkas too, of course, and American style Jazz and Blue

Eric Stern has studied the Arabic and Turkish repertoire for decades receiving instruction from Yurdal Tokcan, Timuçin Çevikoğlu,  Souhail Kaspar (as well as performing onstage with the master percussionist), Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Elias and George Lammam and Souren Baronian.

Eric Stern has had the honor to play for hundreds of Belly Dancers including, Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Aziza, Ansuya and many many others and leads the house band of the Caravan Stage at Oregon Country Fair.

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