Intermezzo – Marlene Heiß

Beyond Kunstlied - Experimental Song Interpretation in the Interplay of Immediacy and Artificiality

1) How is it possible that there is hardly anything more immediate than singing a song, and yet for most people, there is hardly anything that appears more artificial than the performance of a classical art song?
(2) What does the shift in listening habits and reception aesthetics in our society reveal about our perceptions of artificiality and naturalness, staged and authenticity, distance and connection?
(3) How can interpreters today contribute to new narratives of meaning constitution and conveyance through their engagement with songs?

These questions lead to the central research question of ‚Beyond Kunstlied‘: How can experimental song interpretation, starting from the classical art song, make sensory experiences tangible that are relevant to our society today in the context of current socio-cultural and ecological transformation processes?

During the Intermezzo I will talk about these questions referring briefly to an ongoing collective research project „LOU- beyond Her-Story“, which tries to reject the performance conventions and representational gestures of the classical song recital. Inspired by the biography and literary and psychoanalytic work of Lou Andreas-Salomé, the concert format is examined for its feminist potential. Instead of merely reproducing songs, the creative approach is essential: the pieces are curated, edited, analytically explored, and discussed. The classical understanding of a closed form is questioned, and the process of appropriation is highlighted.

Internal Supervisors and External Advisors: Holger Falk (KUG), Andreas Dorschel (KUG), Deniz Peters (KUG).

Marlene Heiß


Marlene Heiß is a pianist specializing in song interpretation, concert performance, and the conception of transdisciplinary formats. Through her meticulous search for contemporary gateways and cross-genre approaches, she creates connections between her work and the audience. Her interpretations are based on a thorough understanding of performance practice, which she seamlessly blends with artistic freedom. Her engagements have taken her to venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Gasteig Munich, the Historical Reitstadel Neumarkt, the Musiikkitalo Helsinki, the Academic Capella St. Petersburg, and the Tianjin Concert Hall. She has also been featured in concert series such as the Venice Art Night, the Rhonefestival for Liedkunst, the Nordlied Festival Hamburg, the Davos Festival, Clemens Goldberg's Slow Listening concert series in cooperation with rbb Berlin, and the Osterfestspiele Baden Baden.
She is a prize winner in international chamber music competitions and a member of the artistic direction team of the transdisciplinary cultural festival ‚Festspiele Bregenzerwald‘. She is a lecturer at the University of the Arts Berlin.