The Amertican counter-tenor, Eric S. Brenner, was born and raised in the wilds of Long Island. He grew up in a house filled with music - especially rock & roll (he was at Woodstock - in utero). For all that, he didn not sing a note in public until his junior year of high school. He began his musical training on violin and viola at age 8, but was much too shy to sing. Joining the Northport High School choir, under the inspired and passionate direction of Sandy Valerio, changed everything. Since then, he has worked with so many incredibly gifted and generous musicians including William Appling (who told Eric what a counter-tenor was and introduced him to Chanticleer), Joseph Jennings, John Scott, Julian Wachner, Neal Goren, Nicholas McGegan, Andrew Parrott, and William Christie.
Hailed for his “astonishing solo singing” and “penetrating eloquence” (New York Times), Eric Brenner has been privileged to perform on many of the world's premier halls with many of the world's finest conductors. He made his solo debut in Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms at Cornell University. He has sung the work many times since then, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space. Some of his current projects include eight sold-out performances in the role of Doodle in Stefan Weissman's and David Cote's highly acclaimed chamber opera, Scarlet Ibis; singing opposite actress Lili Taylor in Suzanne Bocanegra's Bodycast at CounterCurrent, Houston, Texas; world premieres by Jessica Meyer and Doug Balliet with the Colonials; Volpino in Haydn's Lo Speziale in Rochester, New York; and Tolomeo in George Frideric Handel's Giulio Cesare in Roanoke, Virginia. He also covered David Daniels in the role of Didymus in G.F. Handel's Theodora on tour with the Trinity Wall Street Choir and The English Concert under Maestro Harry Bicket.
Eric Brenner is a frequent alto and soprano soloist in G.F. Handel's perennial favorite, Messiah. Featured performances include Alice Tully Hall - “unearthly purity” (Wall Street Journal), "remarkable" (Downtown Express) - with the Trinity Wall Street Choir, directed by Julian Wachner; at St. Thomas Church with John Scott - "graceful line" (New York Times); and at St. John’s Cathedral in New Mexico as the soprano in an all-male solo quartet - "His aria...glowed with an angelic reverence" (Albuquerque Journal).
Eric Brenner has been incredibly lucky to sing more than 20 J.S. Bach cantatas with various groups including American Virtuosi, the Boulder Bach Festival, & as a regular soloist in the Bach at One music series at Trinity Wall Street. He has also sung both alto and soprano solos on many of J.S. Bach's larger masterworks including Magnificat (BWV 243), Mass in B-Minor (BWV 232), and St. John Passion (BWV 245). Recently, he added the Dying Swan in Orff’s Carmina Burana to his repertoire with performances at Avery Fisher Hall with the National Chorale under Martin Josman and the Westchester Choral Society with guest conductor Paul Mueller.
An avid proponent of new music, Eric Brenner is inspired and humbled to have the chance to sing roles written especially for him in several new works.
This year, Eric Brenner continues his work as Doodle in Scarlet Ibis. This powerful exploration of war, hope, death, and brotherly love is produced under the auspices of American Opera Projects, H.E.R.E., and Beth Morrison Projects. Last year he was at the National Opera Theatre in Ukraine as the Poet in Virko Baley's Holodomor, an unblinking look at the horrors of the Stalinist purges of 80 years ago which took the lives of over 4 million Ukrainians. Composer Hannah Lash has written several works for Eric including Blood Rose, a lushly dark re-imagining of the Beauty and the Beast story. This chamber opera, written for Eric, mezzo-soprano Kirsten Sollek, and the Jack Quartet, and featured in the 2010 VOX Contemporary Opera Lab of New York City Opera, will have new life on an upcoming recording. He has also recorded and performed extensively with Pew and Guggenheim fellow Toby Twining.
Eric Brenner is also a sometime actor, singer, music-director, arranger, and composer on various projects with Rob Reese, Matt Shloss, and Amnesia Wars. When he is not singing (& sometimes even when he is), he walks, runs, hikes, bikes, reads and writes (prose - and occasionally music). He is an avid dog whisperer/wrassler, an excellent parallel parker, and an incorrigible Mets fan.