Klaus Mertens was born in Kleve, Germany, and received his first singing lessons as a child. Following completion of his Abitur (high school diploma) he studied music and pedagogy, with Else Bischof-Bornes, Jakob Stämpfli, and Peter Massmann, and graduated with distinction. This was soon followed by a busy concert career both at home and abroad, with appearances with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Jerusalem Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Mr. Mertens is a sought-after interpreter of the Baroque oratorio and concert repertory, and he has also enjoyed success with music from the Classical and Romantic periods, as well as contemporary pieces, including some that were written for him.
He has recorded the vocal works of J.S. Bach with many different conductors, and he was featured in the multi-volume recording of the complete cantatas of Bach with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. This ten-year project initiated by the conductor Ton Koopman and completed in 2003 also included concert tours throughout Europe, America, and Japan. Mr. Mertens’s discography includes more than 175 CDs and DVDs along with many international radio and television broadcasts. He made his Davies Symphony Hall debut in 1996, with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. These current performances mark his San Francisco Symphony debut.
(May 8–10 2014)