Siegfried Lorenz brought a sturdy lyric baritone and an undeniable honesty of interpretation to a wide range of music. Though he never reached the first rank of singers, he was authoritative in his performances of German song, to which he brought intelligence, clarity of diction, faithfulness to the composer's indications, and a natural sensitivity to the spirit of each song. He was especially identified with the song cycles of Schubert.
After studies in piano, organ, and cello performance, Lorenz began voice training with Alois Orth in Berlin. In 1969, he successfully completed the requirements for certification as a singing instructor, and also made his stage debut in Prokofiev's Love of Three Oranges with Berlin's innovative Komische Oper. That same year, he also won the first of several voice competitions in Toulouse. Lorenz stayed with Berlin for four years, but after 1973 he eschewed long-term contracts in favor of guest appearances, although he appeared frequently with the Deutsche Staatsoper for most of his career.
Kurt Masur appointed Lorenz the first permanent soloist at the Leipzig Gewandhaus; his work there established his as a leading singer of lieder. Lorenz subsequently appeared in New York, Vienna, Salzburg, Moscow, Paris, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Tokyo. In addition, he achieved a reputation of excellence for his Bach performances (many of them recorded) and for his skill as a teacher. Among Lorenz's many recordings are the three song cycles of Schubert, Mahler's Rückert Lieder and Kindertotenlieder, and several operas. His Ruprecht in Prokofiev's Flaming Angel is well sung and acted, providing the fulcrum for the Deutsche Grammophon recording under Neeme Järvi. His Donner in James Levine's Ring and Ottokar in Colin Davis' Der Freischütz are both unusually good, and he made distinguished contributions to a series of Bach cantatas under Peter Schreier's direction.