Elenora Pertz ’11

Elenora Pertz ’11 is currently a classical pianist living in Berlin, Germany. She has performed in ten countries and has, so far, worked in two of the three opera houses in Berlin. She is working as a Répétiteur, a member of an opera company who accompanies rehearsals on the piano and coaches the singers. She started in the opera houses at the age of 25, which is quite young in that field. She is now fluent in German and can also speak Italian and French well. This all stemmed from a trip to Vienna the summer before she started college; she loved it and all of the musical culture it came with.

Nora is an IB Diploma graduate of Mercyhurst Prep, and she feels that the IB program really helped her get to where she is today. She felt more academically challenged in her senior year at MPS than during college. Nora said it made her really have to think outside of the box, and all the critical thinking and balancing that the program required was great preparation for the future. After MPS she acquired her degrees in Solo Piano Performance and European studies, focusing in German and Austrian, from Vanderbilt University. This is after studying pre-med for a year because she thought she wanted to be a doctor. However, she was miserable in those studies and knew deep down that music is what she wanted to pursue. She had received scholarships for music and decided she wanted to be happier and take that leap of faith.

Once the decision to focus on her music was made, it took off from there. She took a summer and studied German at the Middlebury Language Schools in Vermont where students are required to only speak the language they are studying, six hours a day for two months. This is how she became fluent in German, which, she said, opened so many doors. While studying abroad in Vienna for seven months during her junior year at Vanderbilt, she met a teacher there who strongly encouraged her to return to Vienna and work with her on a master’s degree. After graduation from Vanderbilt, that is just what she did. She attained her master’s in Vocal Accompanying from MUK – Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien, The Music and Arts University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria. While studying there she met another teacher who led her to Berlin where she is currently working and studying for a second master’s in Art Song Accompanying from Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, Hanns Eisler University of Music Berlin.

Nora’s accomplishments are far and wide, and this is just the beginning. Her advice to anyone else who is scared to go for what they really want is to take that Leap. She said, “If you have a passion and you’re good at something, you’re motivated and smart, then find a way to turn it in to a career. It will take a lot of hard work, and you may need to think outside of the box, but it is worth it.”