Heike Matthiesen (1964–2023)

Heike Matthiesen © Kaupo Kikkas
Heike Matthiesen © Kaupo Kikkas

Heike Matthiesen died peacefully on December 22nd, 2023. She had been a member of the Executive Board of the International Working Group of Women in Music, the sponsoring association of the Archiv Frau und Musik (Archives of Women in Music), Frankfurt/Main, since 2017.

Heike was very open about her illness and always spoke honestly and directly about her situation. She was always present in support of the board and the archive team and her dedicated and creative work to promote equality for women in musical life remained constant. Everyone in the team at the Archives carries Heike in their hearts and we would like to express our deepest condolences to her mother Inge and sister Anskje.

As an ambassador for female composers, Heike Matthiesen pursued a multi-faceted approach. Her calling as a classical solo guitarist was certainly at the heart of her activities – she presented the results of her intensive repertoire research on works by women at numerous concerts both in Germany and abroad as well as through CD productions. She commissioned numerous works and was the first to record many compositions by historical and contemporary composers. Even the restrictions of the pandemic phase and her illness did not stop her from making music in practice; rather, she produced the CD Guitar Divas (2023) and gave innovative “1-to-1 concerts” at the Archiv Frau und Musik.

Closely networked in Frankfurt am Main and with many connections far beyond, she presented the archive’s work to music associations, schools and universities, as well as to the media world. She maintained contacts with the authorities and cultural representatives of the city of Frankfurt and played a central role in putting the Archiv Frau und Musik back on a more solid financial footing after cuts in 2013 threatened to curtail its activities. Heike Matthiesen was particularly successful in increasing the visibility and international networking of women in music through the use of social media, an arena in which she took action as an early adopter and with great enthusiasm.

In an online post from this past August, Heike Matthiesen wrote words of thankfulness and full of love to her family and all the friends who accompanied her:

“…Music has been my soul therapy and I am overwhelmed by the joy of sharing music on stage. My music-making has changed. Pure love and joy, complete freedom.”

The echoes of Heike’s music, her radiant stage presence and her commitment to what she so strongly believed in will persist and continue to be a source of empowerment and inspiration to us all.

Mary Ellen Kitchens,
on behalf of the entire team of the Archive of Women in Music


Music written by and with Heike Matthiesen:

Interviews with Heike Matthiesen:

Web presences of Heike Matthiesen:

4 thoughts on “Heike Matthiesen (1964–2023)”

  1. Guten Tag aus Schriesheim bei Heidelberg.
    Wo kann ich die CD „Guitar Ladies“ kaufen.
    Gibt’s nicht bei Amazon.
    Besten Dank,
    Hans-Jürgen Kemmler
    Edelsteinstrasse 41A
    69198 Schriesheim

  2. ich war mit Heike seit über 10 Jahren eng befreundet, und es macht mich glücklich zu sehen, dass Ihr hier sie so gesehen habt, wie ich sie erlebt habe. Sie hatte diese Fähigkeit, Menschen in ihrer Umgebung zum Leuchten zu bringen, von der Bühne durch ihre Musik (die ebenso leuchtete) wie auch im Freundeskreis und offenbar bei der Arbeit im Archiv (beim Wort “Arbeit” habe ich kurz gezögert, denn ich weiß, dass das Archiv für sie immer eine Herzensangelegenheit war).


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