Eric Mentzel

Eric Mentzel's picture
Professor of Voice
260 Frohnmayer Music Building
MFA 1983, Early Music Performance, Sarah Lawrence College
BMus 1980, Music Education, Temple University College of Music

Eric Mentzel came to the UO School of Music from Germany, where he lived for nearly 15 years. His teachers have included George McKinley, Sheila Schonbrun, Marcy Lindheimer, and Detlef Zywietz, and he has attended master classes with Christina Miatello and Nigel Rogers.

Mentzel is a specialist in historically-informed performance and has enjoyed an international career as a concert soloist, working with such conductors as Andrew Parrott, Howard Arman, Paul van Nevel, and Jean Tubery. He has appeared at major festivals and premiere concert venues across Europe, including the Holland Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Brussels Palais de Beaux Arts, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham; concert tours have taken him as far as Japan and Australia. He is also known for his close collaboration with the most highly regarded ensembles in the early music field, such as Sequentia, the Ferrara Ensemble, and the Huelgas Ensemble. He has appeared on more than 40 CDs for Sony, Decca, BMG, Harmonia Mundi, Arcana, Opus 111, Raumklang, Naxos, and Capriccio, and his recordings have been awarded the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Grammy), the Diapason d'Or de l'Annee, and the Choc de Musique (French recording awards). In 1998 he founded Vox Resonat—an ensemble devoted to the performance of medieval and Renaissance vocal music—which has recorded two CDs for the Marc Aurel Edition label.

In addition to his work in oratorio and early music, Mentzel has long been involved in the contemporary music scene, premiering new works by Alfred Schnittke, Henri Pousseur, Andrew Toovey, Johannes Fritsch, and Volker Staub. At Hamburg's Opera Stabile, he sang the role of Ubu's wife in the German premiere of Toovey's chamber opera, UBU; he was also featured in the German premiere of Schnittke's Life With An Idiot in Wuppertal and Gelsenkirchen. He was tenor soloist with the Royal Walloon Chamber Orchestra in the world premiere of Le Sablier du Phénix by Henri Pousseur, and performed compositions by Hugues Dufourt and Jonathan Harvey at the Ars Musica Festival in Brussels. Mentzel appears on the world premiere recording of Volker Staub's Suarogate, commissioned by Saarland Radio, and was heard in the world premiere of Yokohama by Johannes Fritsch, which was broadcast live across Europe as part of Radio Hessen's Forum Neue Musik. For Projekt Südbrücke, a theater piece that used as its performing space a railroad bridge spanning the Rhine, he collaborated with Cologne performance artist Angie Hiesl. Most recently he sang the lead role in the world premiere of Stargazer, a new opera by Seattle composer Garrett Fisher.

Eric Mentzel is frequently invited to teach workshops and master classes in Europe and North America. He is a guest teacher at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Netherlands, and is on the faculty of the Medieval Music Summer Course at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, and the Vancouver Early Music Programme in Vancouver, British Columbia. In recent years he has conducted workshops in Siena, Italy; Berlin, Germany; and Melbourne, Australia.

Selected Discography: 
  • Stargazer, 16 Visions, 2007
  • Joculatores Dei: Minstrels of God, Vox Resonat (directed by Eric Mentzel), Marc Aurel Edition; 2007
  • Lost Songs of a Rheinland Harper, Sequentia, BMG/Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 2005
  • Carmina Burana, Ony Wytars/Unicorn Ensemble, Naxos, 2002
  • Northerne Wynde: Music of Walter Frye, Ferrara Ensemble, Marc Aurel Edition, 2002
  • Le Chant de Virgile, Huelgas Ensemble, Harmonia Mundi, 2001
  • Mercy ou Mort: chansons et motets d'mour de Guillaume de Machaut, Ferrara Ensemble, Arcana, 2001
  • Musica Sacra in Colonia, Musica Fiata, Glissando, 2000. Awarded the Choc de Musique
  • Choralis Septentrionalis, Retrover, Opus 111, 2000
  • Suarogate for vocal soloists and instrumental ensemble by Volker Staub (composer), Wergo Records, 1999