Towards a transdisciplinary and relational performance practice

Heloisa Amaral
Supervising team:
Prof. Frans de Ruiter (1st promotor)
Musician type:
experimentation, performance, piano, re- contextualization, transdisciplinarity
Started in 2015



The relationship between performer and musical work has shifted focus in the last fifty years. 

While the hermeneutical tradition presupposed an active involvement with the past, the critical light cast upon it by postmodern ventures and by the shift to performativity at the turn of the century highlighted the multiplicity of the text  and the creative responsibility of the performer. Finally, in today’s network and information society, the performer is asked to create new contexts and frames of reference for his/her engagement with a musical text. Radical examples of such practices can be found in theatre and dance, where stage directors and choreographers actively reconfigure relationships between text and context(s) through subtexts that link the rendering of the primary play to discourses external to it (Lehmann 2006). 

Combining her professional experience as pianist and curator as well as her formal training in stage direction, Amaral proposes herewith an approach to performance practice in which musical works from the past become mediators between the performer and ideas from contemporary art and aesthetics.   

In order to implement this proposal and to transpose to music theatrical procedures of re-contextualization, she has developed the concept of hyperimpressions. Inspired by the æsthetics of music theatre director Heiner Goebbels as well as by the notion of relational music advanced by philosopher Harry Lehmann, hyperimpressions consist of:  

1) Relational practices: hyperimpressions are extracted from musical works from the past by means of fruitful encounters and correspondences with concepts and ideas found in contemporary works and discourses; 

2) Transdisciplinary practices: hyperimpressions appropriate elements and techniques from several artistic disciplines so as to stage these correspondences within experimental performative situations composed of light, movement, image and sound.