Intermezzo – Zsófia Faragó

The Inner Games of the Lied Duo: Experiments in Search of Empathy and Ensemble Quality in Art Song Interpretation

There is a distinctive dynamic that is present within the Lied-Duo; the interactions between a pianist and a singer, communicating together the intentions of a composer and a poet creating a unique four-way companionship. In an ‘ideal’ Lied Duo performance a shared voice is represented, reflecting the intentions of the composer and poet; that is represented in the ‘work’. This artistic research project focuses on current practices in art song interpretation in order to find answers to questions about the different dynamics, present during a Lied-Duo performance, that aid the emergence of a shared voice/vision; the roles empathy and awareness play in these dynamics and how they manifest on the physical, emotional and mental levels of experience.

My artistic research focuses on collaboration with singers, and branched experiments with instrumentalists and actors. During these experiments, that take place during rehearsalsessions, we remove certain aspects of the ‘usual’ music-making, such as visual clues, text, physical expression of emotion etc. with an aim to observe the deprivation of these elements and what that means in practice. The experiments (case studies) have a theoretical framework to them that orders the embedded layers of interaction from lower to higher orders. The higher order experiments are more complex and build upon the lower order ones. In this presentation are examples of the lower order experiments.

From this starting point an important stage will develop in reflection and analysis of the recorded material, pattern finding and conceptual grafting based on these results from the experimental process. This will then lead to other experiments constructed within the hierarchy. The goal of this research project is to achieve an enhanced understanding of the qualities that produce excellent ensemble play primarily in the Lied-Duo, but also in other duo formats and ensembles that deal with text, and as a result, achieve enhanced interpretations of German Lieder.

Internal Supervisors and External Advisors: Julius Drake (KUG), Deniz Peters (KUG)

Zsófia Faragó


The Hungarian pianist Zsófia Faragó is a chamber musician focusing on the traditional and contemporary art song repertoire. Her work has taken her to different concert halls in Austria, Germany, Hungary, the UK, and India. She currently works as a repetiteur at the University of Music in Szeged.