Born in the German town of Cleves, the bass Klaus Mertens is one of the world’s leading singers active in early music today.
His participation in Ton Koopman’s performance and recording of the complete Bach cantatas over ten seasons marked a high point of his career. Never before had a single bass taken on all the cantata arias.
In addition to Koopman, Mertens has worked with numerous other early music specialists, including Frans Brüggen, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, René Jacobs, Philippe Herreweghe and Gustav Leonhardt. In appreciation of his many contributions as a Baroque singer, the city of Magdeburg conferred on him its Georg Philipp Telemann Prize in 2016.
With equal passion, Mertens devotes himself to repertoire from later style periods, too, having performed with such leading orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with such conductors as Kent Nagano, Herbert Blomstedt, Andris Nelsons, Sir Roger Norrington, Hans Vonk and Iván Fischer. He is in high demand at all the leading international festivals.
Mertens collaborated with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in its 1993 and 1998 performances of Bach’s St Matthew and St John Passions, both conducted by Ton