Lied is part of Heidelberg's DNA. The most famous and extensive song manuscript of the Middle Ages, the "Codex Manesse", which dates from 1300, is kept here. At the beginning of the 19th century, Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim created their folk song collection "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" in Heidelberg. Romantic composers such as Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms and poets such as Friedrich Hölderlin and Joseph von Eichendorff were inspired by the city and its atmosphere.
In order to cultivate the heritage of Lied and ensure its renewal at an excellent level, Heidelberger Frühling founded the Liedzentrum in 2016. It provides the ideal setting for a creative and innovative exploration of the phenomenon of Lied in all its manifestations. It creates a protective space for explorative-experimental work: artists are to be enabled to concentrate on their projects unhindered by the pressure of deadlines, economic necessities or immediate pressure to succeed.
In a free, interdisciplinary exchange, song forms of different traditions and cultures should inspire each other and open up their potentials. The interplay of these offerings makes the center a place where exemplary song productions can be conceived, tested and brought to the public. Song formats developed and performed in Heidelberg are expected to provide significant impetus for the further development of the genre
Under the umbrella of the Liedzentrum recon/liedfestival/cile the year-round Liedakademie under the artistic direction of Thomas Hampson, the biennial Wettbewerb „Das Lied“ founded by Thomas Quasthoff and since 2022 the new Liedfestival. In addition, the Liedzentrum implements other artistic projects such as the interdisciplinary Lied.LABS, the short films of "Lied me!" or the CD release "Schumann - Alle Lieder" with Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber.
In association with influential individuals and institutions, the Liedzentrum is working to build an international network that reflects the cooperative and collaborative spirit of the Liedzentrum. The close exchange between all those who are committed to Lied from various sides is intended to give the genre recognition in the public sphere, it will provide impulses for artistic-aesthetic developments and help the promotion to be more effective. Last but not least, it can help to interest as diverse an audience as possible in the song.
Network partners include Bayerischer Rundfunk, Franz Schubert und die Musik der Moderne Graz, Hampsong Foundation, Hidalgo Munich, Hugo Wolf Academy Stuttgart, Oxford Lieder Festival, Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI e.V., Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Robert-Schumann-Forschungsstelle e.V., Sony Classical, Schubertiade Vilabertran, Wigmore Hall London and Der Zwerg Das Kunstlied Festival.