The Liedduo Franziska Andrea Heinzen and Benjamin Malcolm Mead was founded in Düsseldorf in 2014. Besides dedicating themselves to composers such as Schubert, Wolf and Strauss, the young duo also sets its purpose in performing less well known compositions as well as contemporary music. During the past three years they have been giving successful recitals in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.
The two young musicians took second prize at the chamber music competition Sieghardt-Rometsch and first prize at the 2. International Song-Competition Rhein-Ruhr in april of 2017, are laureates of the international competition Les saisons de la voix 2016 in Gordes (France) and received a special award from Juventudes de musica españa in giving a series of song recitals in Spain in February 2018. Together they are receiving the music endowment award of the state capital of Düsseldorf 2017. In march of 2018 they will be giving their debut recital at the new song series dedicated to Schubert in Barcelona initiated by the Schubertíada de Vilabertran in march of 2018.
Franziska and Benjamin have had the honour of working with Julius Drake, Richard Stokes and Christoph Prégardien at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Aldeburgh, with Malcolm Martineau, Roberta Alexander and Olaf Bär during the Udo Reinemann International Masterclasses in Brussels, as well as with Graham Johnson and Elly Ameling during the 42. Masterclass for Lied organized by the Internationale Hugo Wolf Akademie in Stuttgart. Further masterclasses with Dame Felicity Lott, Boguslaw Strobel, Hans Eijsackers, Julius Drake, Jeff Cohen complement their passion for the art of Lied as well as Ulrich Eisenlohr, Hartmut Höll and Wolfram Rieger.
RECENT CONCERT PROGRAMMES
MOONLIGHT AT SPRINGTIME (2020)
Spring evokes love and pure joy, while the moonlight emphasises endless longing. Springing from one of the Duos first Lied programmes, the title will be revived with new song constellations in 2020 and will host composer such as Hugo WOLF, Richard STRAUSS and many others.
LES SIX. RELOADED (2020)
In 1920 an album of piano pieces was published by a group of composers called Les Six. The composers Honegger, Auric, Durey, Milhaud, Poulenc and Tailleferre each contributed one short work. The peculiarity of these works is to be rediscovered, as the inter-war years – les années folles – inspired artists to fusion the genres, create avant-garde treasures as well as conduct dadaistic experiments. 100 years later, our recital brings this piano cycle back to life whilst being complemented by songs composed by the members of Les Six.
ILLUSION / DISILLUSIONMENT. FROM THE FIN DE SIÈCLE INTO THE NEW WORLD (2019)
This song recital tells about musical utopias around the penultimate turn of the century: Dreams and hopes of an exotic elsewhere, fantasies and longings about (soul)landscapes, eternal love and the”promised land“ emerges and dissolves in inner or outer exile. Daydreams from DEBUSSY, RAVEL to KRENEK, WEILL and EISLER.
CONTEMPORARY SONG & ANCIENT FEMALE CHARACTERS (2019)
This recital is dedicated to the modern and contemporary art of Lied. Even the composers of our time like getting involved with archetypes, searching for personal expression as well as (unusual) musical and vocal settings, revealing to us enlightening and refreshing answers to timeless questions. The programme talks about mystical female worlds that have inspired male composers such as Moritz EGGERT, Wilhelm KILLMAYER, Wolfgang RIHM and Alexander MUNO.
OLD STORIES REDISCOVERED. TO THE 200th ANNIVERSARY OF THE POET KELLER (2019)
Gottfried KELLER is regarded as THE Swiss export poet for the art song: Swiss and international composers were both highly inspired by his poetry and put the seed to some eclectic-pointed song cycles. In the recital, songs by Hans SOMMER, Felix WEINGARTNER, and Hans PFITZER tell about „Alte Weisen“ – old stories about men and women, KELLERS reception of nature are refelcted in songy by the Swiss composer Othmar SCHOECK.
DREAM CROWNED. A TRIBUTE TO THE POET R. M. RILKE (2018/2019)
A world of its own, dream-crowned: Rainer Maria RILKES formulation of the concept of death, life and its transcendentality inspired a whole century of composers lasting into contemporary music to highly emotional, congenial musical works of art. The audience is abducted into a world full of poetry and love, as well as soul abysses with works With works by MAHLER, BERNSTEIN, HOWE, BARBER, PEJACEVIC, HINDEMITH and REIMANN.
CELEBRATING DEBUSSY, BERNSTEIN WITH FRIENDS (2018)
Let us celebrate the centenary of two of the most opposing composers of our time. On the one hand we have DEBUSSYS 100th death year reminding us of his pioneering break with musical tradition, encompassing exotic scales describing the inner (soul)landscape. And then we have BERNSTEIN, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year: pianist, composer, conductor and pedagog. We celebrate the two geniuses alongside with their friends and colleagues Eric SATIE, André CAPLET and Igor STRAVINSKY as well Samuel BARBER, Aaron COPLAND and Charles YVES.
GOETHE AND THE POETS OF THE SENSIBILITY (2018)
The concert programme leads us from the serene lightness of spring across the secret glimpse of a loving and burning heart to the contemplation of beauty and (nocturnal) nature. The juxtaposition of two poetic currents, namely the poets of the sensibility and the oeuvre of J. W. GOETHE in the music of the song master Franz SCHUBERT let us immerse fully in their poetic worlds.
LOVE MAGIC ON THE RHINE (2017)
Seemingly eternal stories and scary fairy tales of mermaids have coexisted alongside the great river that is called the Rhine. The focus of the song recital is on one of the most prominent couples in musical history: Clara and Robert SCHUMANN – both outstanding composers inspiring each other in their own work. The audience is taken on a journey from love-bliss to love-loss and back again – you might even catch a glimpse of a mermaid jumping out of the water.
BETWEEN EAST AND WEST, SPACE AND TIME (2017)
This is a recital spanning from works by the Liedermeister Franz Schubert to exotic and contemporary sounds: The “elsewhere” as apposed to the “here” in lyric poetry and music serves as an antipode to the poetic shaping of spatial and emotional distances. Thus, in this recital, the easterly wind is the ambassador of love, space and time, whilst simultaneously symbolising the secret love between Wolfgang von GOETHE and Marianne von WILLEMER.