Pianist, music director, and vocal coach, Erik Flaten was born and raised in Eastern Washington state. He has been heard all across the northwest and beyond, in cities including Seattle, Portland, Tacoma, NYC, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and internationally in Prague and Salzburg. Erik has been a guest artist at New York University, Whitman College, Chabot College, Portland State University, Lewis and Clark College, The Kairos Chamber Music Lyceum, California State University Summer Arts, the West Seattle Symphony, and the Gig-Harbor Peninsula Symphony Orchestra.
Erik is currently the Music Director for the National Tour of Kander and Ebb's timeless musical Cabaret. This production will be on tour until May 21st all across North America. Broadway.com's review of the opening night in Nashville praised the musicianship of the show, "Musical director Erik Flaten's musicians are impressive in their dexterity: At one moment, they are providing rich interpretations of the memorable John Kander score, while perhaps at the next they are playing denizens of the Kit Kat Klub or neighborhood thugs, wastrels and other folks of questionable repute. Flaten and his band are given their own richly deserved moments in the spotlight at the top of Act Two and the music director himself is given the well-earned final bow at the end of the curtain call.
Erik began his musical studies as a pianist, French Hornist and singer. At Central Washington University, he studied with esteemed pianist, Dr. John Pickett. During his time at CWU, Erik discovered his love and talent for chamber music and collaborating with other musicians, especially vocalists. His success as a collaborative pianist led him to many exciting performances, including his debut at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.
After graduating from CWU with honors, Erik moved to New York City to serve as an adjunct faculty member of New York University’s Steinhardt School, which allowed him opportunities to teach, and to serve as assistant music director on numerous musical theater and operatic productions. While at NYU, Erik also pursued a Masters Degree in collaborative piano under the tutelage of Dr. Grant Wenaus of Glimmerglass Opera. Additionally, he played for the studio of renowned NYC voice teacher, Michael Ricciardone. Erik also continued to study solo piano with acclaimed champion of new music, Anthony De Mare.
Recent successes have included countless performances in the San Francisco area, an all-Schumann concert with mezzo-soprano, Angela Niederloh and baritone, Matthew Hayward. He has also played with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir, Pacific Youth Chorus, and most recently, served as assistant conductor of the Wellspring Ensemble. In December of 2014 Erik Flaten performed the Grieg Piano Concerto with the West Seattle Symphony. Upcoming engagements on the East Coast include collaborative work with bass-baritone, Daniel Mobbs and multiple performances with soprano, Leah Golub.
Past achievements in music theater include being music director and conductor for a production of Fiddler on the Roof in the East Bay and working as a guest artist for California State Summer Arts. After opening night of Fiddler on the Roof the Piedmont Post stated, "the music blooms as a -piece orchestra conducted by music director Erik Flaten accompanies the full cast in a brilliant choral account of their tradition." At Summer Arts Erik Flaten works as an accompanist, coaching singers and playing for daily masterclasses with broadway music directors such as Rob Fisher and Patrick Vaccariello. Future engagements include conducting Anything Goes at the Harold Prince Theater in Philadelphia.
Erik’s passion for teaching has led him to be an adjudicator for various music festivals and competitions. He currently maintains a small studio of committed piano students in Philadelphia, and has held positions at New York University, Chabot College, and California State Summer Arts.
Erik’s research interests include new music, particularly American opera, and the ways in which new commissions are tied to social progress and cultural economics. In August of 2017, Erik traveled to Bern, Switzerland to attend the Branding Western Music conference, where musicologists from around the world gathered to debate and discuss the branding of classical music. Above all, Erik has a love for opera, and is constantly seeking ways to do his part in keeping the art form alive and relevant.