The Italian-American pianist Elenora Pertz (b. 1993) specializes in collaborating with singers, both on and off the stage.
Originally homeschooled by her mother on a farm in Ashtabula -- a small rural town in Ohio (USA) -- at 6 years old Elenora found a creative outlet in her local arts center, where she received her first piano lessons, studied intensely classical ballet, explored a variety of visual art mediums and performed in musicals. Despite having an interest in many art forms, it was clear that her gifts at the piano were exceptional, and at 15 she decided to concentrate her energies on this discipline together with her teacher Linda Kobler. In addition to many achievements as a solo pianist, Elenora started working with singers at an early age: she accompanied her church choir since the age of 9, and played her high school's musical productions. Later in college at Vanderbilt University she would discover the profession of an accompanist or collaborative pianist, finally finding a vocation that combined her passion for literature, poetry, drama and music. At 22 she moved to Europe and hasn't looked back, performing in some of the most prestigious institutions on the continent with exciting collaborative partners. Elenora is constantly finding new ways to make the art song repertoire engaging to today's audiences, whether that be through innovative programing, audience engagement, or bringing in other art forms that were crucial to her artistic upbringing.
2022/23 Season Highlights include performances at Wigmore Hall, Musée d’Orsay, Lied Fest Berlin-Oxford, Piano Salon Christophori and the Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing. In 2021-22 she was a participant of the prestigious Lied Mélodie Académie Orsay-Royaumont with mezzosoprano Florence Losseau, and the duo released in September the CD Ombres chimériques together (B Records, 2022). The disc juxtaposes Berg's "Sieben frühe Lieder" with Debussy's "Cinq poèmes de Baudelaire", showing the similarities of the two European Salon capitals at the turn of the 20th century.
An avid recitalist, Elenora has performed throughout Europe and America at venues such as the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Snape Maltings (Aldeburgh), Brigitte Fassbaender's Eppaner Liedsommer, Muse Salentine Festival (OutThere Music) and the Corfu Philharmonic with reputable artists such as KS Angelika Kirchschlager, KS Birgid Steinberger, Dietrich Henschel and Nikolay Borchev.
In September 2022 she was a Semi-Finalist at the Wigmore Hall/Bollinger International Song Competition, where her duo partner Jeeyoung Lim was awarded the "Britten Pears Young Artist Prize"-- the first Asian singer to ever win a prize in the competition. Other Competition successes include the"Prix de Déodat de Séverac" at the Concours international de chant-piano Nadia et Lili Boulanger (2021), the Grand Prix at Les Saisons de la voix (2020) in Gordes, France and performing in the finals of Thomas Quasthoff's Das Lied (2019) where her partner Jeeyoung won the prize for “Most Promising Talent.”
Her discography includes the recently published Ombres chimériques with Florence Losseau (B Records, 2022), More than a Myth: Lieder and chamber music by Engelbert Humperdinck with baritone Nikolay Borchev (Hänssler Classics, 2021) ,which contains some world premieres of the composer's lesser-known chamber works, as well as Aimer à loisir with tenor Kaëlig Boché (B Records, 2021), which features Lieder by Zemlinsky and Mélodies by Saint-Saëns.
As an opera pianist and musical assistant, she works regularly in all three of the Berlin opera houses under conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Donald Runnicles and Thomas Guggeis. A recent highlight was working on the premiere of Janacek's Več Makropulos at the Staatsoper Berlin under the musical direction of Simon Rattle, directed by Claus Guth with Marlis Petersen in the title role.
Elenora is the official pianist for the Bundeswettbewerb Gesang, where she in the last edition accompanied 18 singers. She enjoys immensely collaborating with KS Brigitte Fassbaender, including accompanying her Lied masterclasses at the Eppaner Liedsommer and Schleswig Holstein Festival. Since 2021 she is on the vocal faculty at the Universität der Künste Berlin.
She was a participant of nearly all of the major European art song young artist programs, including the Britten Pears Young Artist Program, Académie Orsay-Royaumont, Leeds Lieder, Lied Basel, the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden bei Wien, the Schubertiade Masterclass in Schwarzenberg, and the Hugo Wolf Akademie in Stuttgart. Through these experiences she has had the privilege of receiving impulses from some of the greatest artists and scholars in the field, most memorably Robert Holl, Elly Ameling, Graham Johnson and Richard Stokes, to name but a few. She was generously sponsored during her studies in Berlin as a Stipendiatin of Yehudi Menuhin's Live Music Now.
In 2015 she graduated as Valedictorian of the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee, USA) with a double major in Piano Performance and European Studies under Prof. Amy Dorfman. She then went on to study Vocal Accompanying at the Music and Art Private University of Vienna (Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien) under Dr. Carolyn Hague. Recently she finished her second Masters degree in Lied Accompanying at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" Berlin in the class of Prof. Wolfram Rieger. All three of her degrees she earned with the highest markings. Other crucial mentors and teachers include Prof. Susan Manoff, Dr. Deen Larsen, Prof. Helmut Deutsch and Thomas Lausmann.
A lover of languages, outside of her mother tongue Elenora speaks fluent German, Italian and French.
Interested in Arts Administration, Elenora Pertz was the intern for the head of musical studies and casting director at the Wiener Staatsoper (2014) and an administrative assistant at Washington National Opera in the Kennedy Center (2015).
One of Elenora's passions is supporting female pianists in the field of art song. As Gerald Moore stated in his first book, The unashamed Accompanist (1943), there have always been many capable and passionate women studying the art form, and yet for some reason those who have risen to the top of the profession have always been men. Elenora hopes to raise awareness for the lack of female art song pianists regularly performing at the most prominent institutions, being represented by agencies, and serving as professors in European conservatories. Most importantly, she plans to give women the tools to bring to life their projects and create careers based on their individual definition of success. Her personal response to this is to create and direct the Lied the Way workshop for female art song pianists, whose inaugural workshop in September 2021 will be followed up by a much-anticipated second edition in May 2023. The goal of the workshop is to support women on three different levels-- wellness, craft and career-- as well as to build a much needed network of like-minded female Art Song pianists. For more information, visit www.liedtheway.com