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Danae Killian

Victorian College Of The Arts
Virginia Woolf
Arnold Schoenberg
Sylvia Plath
existential phenomenology
Australian contemporary art music
Rudolf Steiner
contemplative practice
Danae Killian's Profile Picture

Danae Killian

Fine Arts And Music
Primary Interest
Second Viennese School
Danae Killian's Profile Picture

Danae Killian


Danaë Killian is an Australian pianist whose poetry-infused performances have found regard internationally for their intense originality and rare communicative power. Her repertoire ranges across the complete solo piano music of the Second Viennese School, major polyphonic works by JS Bach, and a wealth of Australian compositions.

A passionate champion of modern art music, Danaë Killian has delivered over a hundred world premieres, performing throughout Europe, China and the USA, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. She has been the recipient of prestigious awards for her musical and academic prowess, including the Australian Alumni (W G Walker) Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship, the Helen Macpherson Smith Scholarship, an Australian Postgraduate Award, and an Australia Award Endeavour Research Fellowship. Killian is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne, where she earned her PhD in 2010 with a dissertation on Virginia Woolf’s The Waves as a modernist imagining of the harmony of the spheres. Her research project Transformations and Initiations: Sylvia Plath in Flames, in Performance resulted in three major performances produced between 2012 and 2015: Sylvia Plath in the Domestic Sublime, The Dove’s Annihilation, and The Flame and the Rose Folded Together, all of which explored the relationship between poetry and music, biography and art, potential and actual selves. This theme was continued in Killian’s expressionist performance-creation My Heart (2017), a work of soul-homelessness and starry yearning, which sought the lost Berlin of 1911 within the creative hearts of Killian’s composer friends in Melbourne. Danaë Killian’s recording Arnold Schoenberg: Complete Works for Piano Solo for the Move label was launched in 2015 to critical acclaim, and her performances have been featured on further contemporary music CDs, including Eve Duncan’s Curiosities and Butterfly Modernism. Most recently. Danaë Killian collaborated with Barbara Hornung on the Move Records CD Ernest Bloch: Viola and Piano (2018). Danaë Killian is a Forest Collective core artist. Forest Collective is a new music ensemble based in Melbourne under the artistic direction of Evan Lawson.Danaë Killian's research interests cover piano performance (Bach, Mozart, Australian contemporary art music, 20th century European modernism); the musical processes and structures of poetic language, and their human ontological significance (Woolf, Plath); integral and transformative epistemologies (contemplative practice, existential phenomenology, anthroposophy, western and eastern alchemical traditions, Heidegger, Steiner); poetry in performance; the Second Viennese School (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, serialism, expressionism); and the ontology of performance.

Scholarly Works

Displaying the 36 most recent scholarly works by Danae Killian.

Honours, Awards and Fellowships


Awarded for postdoctoral research in Beijing

Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship


Ileen Macpherson Trust Travel Grant


Melbourne Abroad Travelling Scholarship (University of Melbourne)


Keith G Chapman Scholarship


Helen Macpherson Smith Scholarship (University of Melbourne)


Australian Postgraduate Award


Postgraduate Equity Scholarship (University of Melbourne)


Alexander Stiftung Grant


Ileen Macpherson Trust Travel Grant


Australian Alumni (W G Walker) Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship


Awarded to the undergraduate dux of the VCA School of Music, for outstanding academic and musical performance

John Gaitskell Memorial Mensa Prize


Norman Barton Senior Pianoforte Concerto Scholarship


For outstanding achievement in the field of performance

Gwen Nisbet Prize (Victorian College of the Arts)


Elsie Dickinson Prize (Royal South Street Society)






Victorian College Of The Arts


Melbourne Conservatorium Of Music


Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy

Victorian Chapter Secretary

Australian Fulbright Alumni Association


Modern Language Association


International Virginia Woolf Society


Doctor of Philosophy

University of Melbourne

Master of Music Performance (By Research)

University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Arts in Music

Victorian College of the Arts

Associate of Music Australia (Piano)

Australian Music Examinations Board