Eric Stern

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Eric Stern
Birth nameEric Canniere
Born (1971-06-09) June 9, 1971 (age 49)[citation needed]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
GenresOpera, Cabaret, Jazz, Bohemian
Occupation(s)Musician, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, piano, accordion
Years active2002–present
Associated actsVagabond Opera, The Eric Stern Trio

Eric Stern (born Eric Canniere)[citation needed] is an American vocalist, accordionist, composer, arranger, and pianist based in Portland, Oregon. He performs as a soloist, as well as with the Eric Stern Trio, and is the founder and artistic director of Vagabond Opera. Eric Stern has appeared on NPR and performed at the Kennedy Center, The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, Joe’s Pub in NYC, throughout the Northwest, and internationally from Portland to Paris to Poland.


Stern was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June 1971 and trained as a vocalist at the Delaware Valley Opera Company until deciding to become a writer instead and leaving for Paris at age 21.[1] After returning to the US, and to music, a year and a half later.

Stern is a tenor with a wide vocal range and he performs a variety of musical styles including opera, cabaret, jazz, klezmer, bohemian, Balkan music, and many others. As an opera singer, Stern has appeared in over thirty operas including leading 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 Lockit). He has performed with a variety of musical acts including the Decemberists, Balkan Beat Box, Unwoman, Pink Martini, and Devotchka. He also plays for many belly dance performers including Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, and Aziza.

In addition to performing, Stern wrote and composed the opera Queen of Knives (in which he also plays the character Chaim Meyer). Queen of Knives debuted in Portland, Oregon in May 2010 and included cast members from Vagabond Opera and Wanderlust Circus.[2]

Eric has been involved in many ventures including writing the music for Prince of Fences (a new musical based on the story of the real Fagin), the score for the Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre’s production of Pinocchio, pieces for the Northwest Professional Dance Project, settings for Jewish liturgy for the P’nai Or synagogue choir, and Open Hearts, Open Minds (an organization that helps prison inmates make positive changes through theatre production).

"If Stern has a musical philosophy, it's "Let's bring opera back to the fundamentals." Strip away the layers of traditions that have accumulated over opera's 400-year history." [3]

"And while the opera world today seems to be changing, there are still few opportunities for singers to create new roles, or to present operatic singing in contexts outside the concert hall or opera house."[4]

"Back at the turn of the century, poor Italian immigrants flocked to the opera," says Stern. "The classical tradition is totally valid, I think, but not when it becomes a class thing... we're trying to create an operatic atmosphere that's for everyone." [5]


ASCAP Concert Division Panel award recognizing creative contributions to American music (September 2011).

Current Projects[edit]

In March 2015, Stern's newest project, independent production company Hungry Opera Machine, debuted its first opera at the Alberta Rose Theatre: Flour, Salt, & Moonbeams. It was well received by critics.[6] Stern's most well-known project, the steampunk band Vagabond Opera, announced a hiatus in May 2015 via its official Facebook page.[7] Stern is also known to collaborate on the Sepiatonic project with tribal-fusion belly dancer Karolina Lux (MarchFourth Marching Band).


Stern Little Stories (2012)

Published works[edit]

Queen of Knives (Full-length Opera)
9 lives
Fremont Street Stomp
Get on the Train
Goodnight Moon
King of the Gypsies
Merci Django
Reine de la Roca
River Song
Scary Tale Theater
Sing for Your Lives
Suites for Pinocchio
The Transformation into Marlene
Tough Mazel
Vagabond Tango


  1. ^ Beckman, Rachel (January 10, 2008). "Vagabond Opera: Life Is a Cabaret". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  2. ^ D'Antoni, Tom (May 5, 2010). "Vagabond Opera's Opera: Eric Stern on 'Queen of Knives'". Oregon Music News. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  3. ^ Stabler, David (May 6, 2010). "New Wave Opera: Three shows put an untraditional spin on opera in Portland". Oregon Live. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  4. ^ Tracy, Ryan (January 7, 2009). "Papa's Got a Brand New Belt". New York Press. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  5. ^ van Amerongen, Julie (January 2, 2007). "Vagabond Opera". Glide Magazine. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  6. ^ Stabler, David. The Oregonian Retrieved 21 June 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Vagabond Opera facebook page". Facebook. Retrieved 21 June 2015.