Joanna Wicherek - Contemporary Performance Practice, Piano

Overcoming performative boundaries in intermedial theatrical piano music.

My artistic research project explores how the use of different media in intermedia theatrical piano music may limit the performative potential of the performers and how this can be overcome.

In intermedia theatrical piano music, the attention of the performers and the audience often shifts from one performing element or medium to another, rather than allowing for a holistic performance and perception. Therefore, I would like to develop artistic intermedial tools that help artists to overcome these boundaries, and through which the different elements of the work complement and reinforce each other, allowing artistic expression to reach its full potential.

My research questions are:

How can the elements of intermedial theatrical piano music work together in an integrative and unifying way without limiting a pianist's performative expression? How can these artistic means be used to enrich and enhance different media to create a comprehensive, holistic experience for artist and audience?

Methodologically, I start with improvisations, using the piano as the first medium for exploration. Gradually I add other elements such as visualisation, movement, language, or others to my research strategy. To this end, I commission new works and collaborate with artists from different disciplines. I also intervene in the performative elements of existing theatrical piano works by expanding the media used.

First supervisor: Univ. Prof. Dr. Barbara Lüneburg, ABPU
Second supervisor: Dr. Leopold Dick, Hochschule der Künste Bern HKB
Third supervisor: Ao. Univ. Prof. Till Alexander Körber, ABPU


Joanna Wicherek studied piano, chamber music, historical keyboard instruments and organ at the Frédéric Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, at the Musikhochschule Freiburg and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. She performs internationally with a focus on contemporary classical music and interdisciplinary performative art. She also has a profound knowledge of historical keyboard instruments and in historical performance practice. Wicherek collaborates with some of the most well known Polish composers such as Paweł Mykietyn, Paweł Szymański and Sławomir Kupczak and other internationally renowned composers.

Her documentaries include recordings of Paweł Szymański's music as the soundtrack to the film Violated Letters, and a CD with the early music ensemble Proavitus. Wicherek has been awarded several prizes, including the Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in South Africa, the Grand Prix at the 20th and 21st Century Young Performers Competition in Warsaw and the International Contemporary Chamber Music Competition in Krakow. Joanna is a "Young Artist" of the prestigious Accademia Europea Villa Bossi in Italy. Joanna currently lives in Bern, where she works as a concert pianist and piano teacher.