​​Lea Luka Sikau, artist-researcher

As a mezzo-soprano, director and scholar, Lea Luka Sikau has developed the precious skillset to fuse the artistic with the academic sphere. She investigates the friction between the material and virtual as well as between the audible, the visible and the olfactory within music theatre and beyond.

Romeo Castellucci, Stage Director

Lea Luka is an outstanding musical innovator who investigates, challenges and extends the existing norms of music-based projects. She incubates and develops multidisciplinary formats and carves out a unique path at the nexus of music, theater, art and critical inquiry.

Marina Abramovic, Performance Artist

I cannot recall having met someone, much less someone so young, who combines a curiosity about the world, openness of spirit, and a degree of maturity, professionalism, and good humor.

Elena Park, Supervising Producer Metropolitan Opera HD Series

I am sure that Lea Luka will become a visionary and considerate cultural leader of the twenty-first century.

Sir Peter Jonas CBE, Former Artistic Director of the Bavarian State Opera


Lea Luka pursues her PhD on music, creative processes and technology in posthuman opera at the University of Cambridge, funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. As an academic, she has been a Fellow at Harvard University’s Mellon School for Performance and Theater Research and was awarded with the Bavarian Cultural Award for her research at MIT’s Center for Art, Science and Technology. Amongst others, her ethnographic projects brought her to study sound cultures and social processes at the computer music center IRCAM in Paris.

Her research interests include posthumanism, new materialism, media theory, sound studies, science and technology studies, opera studies, musicology, death studies and artistic research.

She has written curatorial and dramaturgical texts for Ars Electronica Festival, Dutch National Opera, Opera Forward Festival, Die Welt’s Feuilleton, Cresc… Biennale for New Music Frankfurt, German Consulate NYC, German Embassy London, Mozartfest Würzburg, Cultural Policy Lab Munich and Ensemble Modern.

Moreover, she is the editor of a research journal on posthuman art with contributions from anthropologist Anna Tsing, Darien Brito and Patricia Kaishian.

Her papers have been presented at the American Musicological Society, the International Musicological Society, the World Congress of the International Federation for Theatre Research, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Acoustic Interface Conference, the Interactive Film and Media Conference and the Transnational Opera Society.

She teaches at University of Cambridge, currently supervising Music in Contemporary Societies, and tutored introduction seminars to Media, Aesthetics and Cultural Studies at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.

Lyric mezzo-soprano Lea Luka has appeared in Germany, Italy, Austria, United Kingdom and the US in a wide range of repertoire. She specializes in baroque and contemporary music, but also interprets a range of Romantic repertoire. Her musicianship is enriched by working with living composers and performance artists. She has particularly established herself as an interpreter of contemporary music and has premiered many new works in the presence of their composers, including Jörg Widmann, Johanna Doderer, Gene Sxip Shirey, and Hans W. Henze. Moreover, she collaborated with the Stuttgarter Vokalsolisten for the Darmstädter Ferienkurse and the Ensemble Modern.

She has a special interest in staging song repertoire in a contemporary and site-specific way. As such, she has been a jury member of the song competition #LIEDINNOVATION by the Rhonefestival for Song Art in Switzerland.

Lea Luka took her first singing lessons being eleven years old as a young student at the Robert Schumann University Düsseldorf with Michaela Krämer and later studied with Edda Moser and Barbara Bonney in Salzburg. While a young student, she received several first prizes on national level within the competition Jugend musiziert and became a scholarship holder of the Richard Wagner Foundation. She continues working with Marie Vassiliou in London who strongly influences her musical development and helps her hone her musical interpretation. From 2021-3, she is a member of the Bühnenakademie, a scholarship by TONALi Hamburg for new concert formats.

Amongst others, performances have taken her to Teatro Montepulciano, Mozarteum Salzburg, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Frieze London, Mozartfest Würzburg, Schumann Festival, Philharmonie Cologne, Conservatoire Toulouse, Beethoven Festival, Rockefeller Center NYC, New England Conservatory, and National Sawdust.

Within and beyond music theater, Lea Luka has worked together with some of the most sought-after visionaries in the arts such as Marina Abramovic, Stefan Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll), Paola Prestini (National Sawdust NYC), and Romeo Castellucci. She assisted Abramovic within her first opera production, 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Kaegi involved her in the production Black Box, a sound walk for the Staatstheater Stuttgart, and Castellucci engaged Lea Luka for the vocal coaching of the main performer within the autobiographical music theater Pavane for Prometheus.

Lea Luka got commissioned by the Reeperbahn Festival and TONALi Hamburg, creating and directing new music theater performances, such as RAUSCH (2021) and TRASH (2022). These works encompass chamber ensemble, actors, voice and media installation while rethinking preconceived notions of thrill, waste and abject nowadays. On the topic of sea level change, she conceptualized a SciArt project together with the German Consulate NYC, Climate Week NYC, and the Earth Institute (Columbia University), premiering it with Julius von Bismarck.

Currently, Lea Luka creates ART FOR NONS, media art for nonhumans, commissioned by the Ars Electronica Festival and the Linz Institute for Technology (LIT). With her research background in media sciences, she proposes interventions to decenter the human in the arts and the everyday. Art for Nonscreates art not only with technology and biology, but ultimately for the two. Together with artist Denisa Pubalova and non-human companions, she explores in-between spaces that got rendered invisible as art spaces and opens them up for multisensory, nonhuman interaction.

In times when the devastating effects of anthropocentrism are ubiquitous, her vision is to let the human collide with narratives that are not meant for their consumption. She fuses speculative fiction with nonhuman agency to create interactive audio-visual installations for technology and biology alike. In her artistic research process, Lea Luka reassembles the relations between machines, fungi and humans to make the art world less of an ouroboros and more of an octopus.

Lea Luka holds an MA in Cultural and Music Management from the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, funded by the Elite Network Bavaria. For producing performances and media art works in Europe and the US, she became an Oxford Cultural Leader 2021 and a Mellon-funded Member of Beth Morrison Projects’ Producer Academy in 2022. She worked as the assistant to the executive producer of the new music incubator National Sawdust NYC in 2019, while she was mentored by Elena Park (Supervising Producer Metropolitan Opera HD Series) and Sir Peter Jonas.

Relating to innovative approaches to management, she studied Design Thinking at Tokyo University’s i.school and ethical leadership as a scholarship holder of the Bavarian Elite Academy (2018-20).


Contact @lealukatiziana