Marena Whitcher is neither a singer nor a performer, multi-instrumentalist nor actress, costume designer nor dancer; she is all of the above. Born in 1990, half Swiss, half American, Marena is currently establishing herself at home and abroad as a Gesamtkünsterlin on various stages, from jazz to avant-garde pop, contemporary classical music and cabaret. She has been a featured soloist for ensembles like Klischée and Janett’s Jazzmusik-Baukasten, music theater works such as Helmut Oehring's FinsterHERZoderORfeo17 or AGOTA? The Illiterate (Yesterday / Somewhere). She has collaborated with the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Ensemble Modern, the Kammerakademie Potsdam, film score composer Niki Reiser, composer Michael Wertmüller, the independent opera company Berlin Novoflot, and the Bodan Art Orchestra or the Zurich Jazz Orchestra. But she invests her primary passion in her own formations, such as Eclecta, Marena & Maximilian Whitcher with ensemble, Marena Whitcher's Shady Midnight Orchestra, and Whitcher & Stocker.

After completing a BA in jazz singing at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in 2013 and a MA in jazz performance and composition at the Hochschule der Künste Bern (HKB) in 2016, she spent half a year in New York honing her skills in drama and dance as a recipient of the City of Zurich's International residency stipend.

Marena Whitcher has received numerous awards, including the art award of the city of Winterthur, the prize from the ZHdK alumni organisation’s prix netzhdk, as well as the prestigious art prize of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin.


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Selection past concerts / References

Jazzfestival Schaffhausen
Moods, Zürich
Hessisches Staatstheater, Wiesbaden/DE
Exil, Zürich
bee-flat im PROGR, Bern
Buskers Festival, Bern
"MuzEnergo" Tour, Sibierien/RU
Hinterhalt Festival, Uster
Akademie der Künste, Berlin/DE
Dampfzentrale, Bern
Casinotheater Winterthur
ktv Börse Thun
Zürich Openair
Boomtown Fair, Winchester/UK
Sazavest, Svetla nad Sazavou/CZ
Gurtenfestival, Bern
Openair St. Gallen
and many more

2018 "Get Going!" grant from Fondation SUISA

2016 Art Award from the City of Winterthur

2015 Residency stipend NYC from the City of Zurich (September 2016 to March 2017)

2015 Jazz-prize from the IBK (International Bodensee Conference)

2015 priz netzhdk (prize of the alumni organisation of the Zurich University of Arts)

2015 Art-prize of the Academy of Arts Berlin. Marena was the first winner from the genre Jazz/Pop in the history of the prize beginning in 1948. Other prize-winners were Olivier Messiaen (1984) and Pierre Boulez (1996).

2015 Nomination for the ZKB Jazzpreis with Marena Whitcher's Shady Midnight Orchestra

2014 Prize of the Friedl Wald Stiftung

Selection press reviews

"(Marena Whitcher) represents originality and unconditional love of experimentation."
Stefan Künzli in the article "Jazz is hip again," Schweiz am Sonntag, 28th of May 2016

"Marena Whitcher isn't a jazz singer. Marena Whitcher is a cosmos." 
Carine Zuber in her laudation for jazz-prize of the IBK (International Bodensee Conference), October 2015

"Marena Whitcher now presents a debut album that simply bubbles over with originality. Singing glass harps, strumming music boxes, a touch of Dada, choral singing, theatrics, recklessness, melancholy, improvisation, avant-garde and ghost-jazz. Not recommended for the faint-hearted." 
Ane Hebeisen, Der Bund, May 2015

"The compositions are intricately composed, taking exquisite care in every single detail. Dense textures are delivered in a hauntingly beautiful narrative that evokes a musical similarity to Tim Burton’s visual quirkiness. Her ability shines through everything, and one senses a devoted effort in each note." 
Mischa Mathys, The Formant, Dear Velvet, Mai 2015