Tenor Gene Stenger Joins Athlone Artists

Athlone Artists is pleased to welcome to its roster Gene Stenger, an “impressive tenor” (The New York Times) who sings with “sweet vibrancy” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer) and is making his mark as a specialist in the oratorio repertoire. 

Gene Stenger is one of the country’s most called upon Bach specialists who is also heralded for his performances of oratorios by Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn and Mozart. He has performed with leading ensembles and interpreters of early music while continuing to expand his repertoire to include music of the 20th and 21st centuries.  

Gene’s 2019-2020 season included engagements with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Odyssey Opera, Teatro Nuovo, Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers, Chatham Baroque, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity New York, Bach Society of St. Louis, Colorado Bach Ensemble, TENET Vocal Artists, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Madison Bach Musicians, Bach Collegium at St. Peter’s New York, and the Yale Camerata.   

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gene had also been scheduled to perform with Portland Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Madison Bach Musicians, Chatham Baroque, Bach Collegium at St. Peter’s New York, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity New York, and the Yale Camerata.  

Equally at home in chamber music, Gene regularly appears with renowned ensembles like the GRAMMY® award-winning Apollo’s Fire: the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the Clarion Music Society, and the Yale Choral Artists. 

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Gene has been a passionate performer since the age of nine when he began cantoring as a boy soprano in his local church. His mother – herself a classically trained singer – encouraged and inspired Gene to continue to pursue music.  

By high school, Gene was participating in all the school musicals and regional choir festivals.  With the encouragement of his voice teacher, Gene pursued his studies in classical voice at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music. He became hooked on Bach during a Collegiate Bach Festival he participated in as an undergraduate.  

It was in graduate school at Colorado State University, where Gene first performed Bach’s Magnificat with Helmuth Rilling.  An invitation to come to Germany to study at Rilling’s Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart immediately followed.  It was in Stuttgart that Gene was immersed in a community of people passionate about Bach, like himself. A highlight of Gene’s time there was performing as the tenor soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Rilling both in Stuttgart and on tour in Germany and South America, which was featured in a documentary about Rilling’s life entitled Ein Leben mit Bach (A Life with Bach).  

The Bachakademie Stuttgart was also where Gene met tenor James Taylor, who suggested Gene study with him at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, specializing in early music, and oratorio. Gene took that advice and went on to complete the program at Yale in 2015. During his time at Yale, Gene performed as a frequent soloist under such acclaimed conductors as David Hill, Masaaki Suzuki, and Simon Carrington at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, London’s St. John’s Smith Square, and Cambridge’s Trinity College with performances broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 in the United Kingdom, and WQXR in New York. Additionally, Gene was featured on the PBS series “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly”, and can be heard as the tenor soloist on Yale Schola Cantorum’s album Fauré Requiem and other sacred music on Hyperion Records.  

Gene was brought to Athlone at the suggestion of Nola Richardson, herself a soprano specializing in early music and a member of the Athlone roster. “After speaking with Miguel Rodriguez of Athlone Artists, I felt strongly that this was a great fit,” Gene says. “He understands where I am professionally and what my goals are for the future.” Those goals include continuing to perform early music for an ever broader audience and expanding his work in opera to include more Rossini, Donizetti and, of course, Mozart.  

“Gene Stenger is among an exclusive group of virtuoso early music singers recently coming out of the Yale program,” says Miguel Rodriguez. “When I heard him sing Judas Maccabaeus with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, his “Sound an alarm” alerted the whole audience to his remarkable talent. I knew then that I wanted to work with this young and gifted tenor.” 

Gene’s previous season highlights have included performances with the Staunton Music Festival, Bach Akademie Charlotte, the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Emmanuel Music, the Baldwin Wallace University Bach Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival, the American Classical Orchestra, Voices of Ascension, the Northeast Pennsylvania Bach Festival, and the Yale Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He also performed a solo quartet version of David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2017, Gene was a Virginia Best Adams vocal fellow with the Carmel Bach Festival, and was a prize winner in the annual Handel Aria Competition.  

On the opera stage, Mr. Stenger has covered the roles of Tonio (La fille du Régiment) and Count Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), and performed as King Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and El Remendado (Carmen) with Opera Fort Collins, where he served as an Apprentice Artist. Additional opera roles include Paolino (Il matrimonio segreto), Peter Quint-cover (Turn of the Screw), the roles of Pirelli and The Beadle (Sweeney Todd), and Marco Palmieri (The Gondoliers) with the Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center; Pygmalion-cover (Pygmalion) with the American Bach Soloists Academy; Albert Herring (Albert Herring) with Opera in the Ozarks; and the role of the Stage Manager in Ned Rorem’s Our Town with Baldwin Wallace University Opera. Internationally, Gene has performed Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte) with Opera Orvieto and participated in an opera scenes exchange program with students from East China Normal University in Shanghai, China.