Kurt Berentsen came to Concordia University in 1998 after serving over twenty-two years in church parish music ministry, directing choral, instrumental and hand-bell ensembles of various levels. Receiving a bachelors degree and an initial teaching certificate in music from Utah State University, he continued his education at the University of California, Santa Barbara; earning a master of arts degree in 1986 with a double emphasis in choral conducting and voice performance. Berentsen was admitted into the commissioned ministry of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod after completing a colloquy program at Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska. As the founding music director of both the Santa Barbara Oratorio Chorale and the Gold Coast Community Chorus of Ventura, California, he has gained a wealth of experience in choral program development. He is a member of the American Choral Director's Association and the Music Educator's National Conference for which he regularly serves as a high school music festival clinician and adjudicator. Professor Berentsen is included in Marquis Who's Who in America and Who's Who In the World. Professor Berentsen serves as director of the music program and is the chair of the Performing and Visual Arts Department at Concordia University. Kurt is married to Floy, who served as organist and accompanist with him in full time parish music ministry for the fifteen years prior to his coming to Concordia and who presently together serve as the Music Ministry team at Zion Lutheran Church in downtown Portland.
As a singer, baritone Kurt Berentsen has performed as a soloist in Carnegie Hall, New York, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C., Metropolitan Opera House, New York, The Forum, Rome, Guildford Hall, England, Anglais de Madeline, Paris, Basilica de Masentio, Rome, among numerous locations throughout the United States and Europe. He has also sung at Dodgers' Stadium in Los Angeles, where he led the National Anthem preceding a regular season game in 1988. He has performed operatic baritone roles of Belcore in Elixir of Love by Donizetti, Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart, Baron Douphol in La Traviata by Verdi, the titled role in Gianni Schicchi by Puccini, Melcior in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti, Dr. Gregg in Gallantry by Moore, First Shepherd in The Play of Three Shepherds and Caleb Palmer in Johnny Appleseed by Zytowski, and Secret Police Agent in The Consul by Menotti. As a soloist in oratorios, cantatas and other non-staged works he has performed the bass/baritone solos in Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus by Handel, Requiem by Mozart, Carmina Burana by Orff, Magnificat, Cantata Nos. 4, 140, and 147 by Bach, Stabat Mater by Pergolesi, Rejoice in the Lamb by Britten and Requiem by Fauré.
Mr. Berentsen holds a Master of Arts degree in both Voice Performance and Choral Conducting from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is presently a music professor, Director of the Music Program, and Chair of the Performing and Visual Arts Department at Concordia University - Portland.