Martin Helmchen
Photo Credit: Giorgia Bertazzi
Listen Now
  • Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58, I
  • Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A
  • Mozart: Sonata No. 12, K332, I
  • Messiaen: Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus / Regard de l'étoile
  • Messiaen: Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus / Regard de l'esprit de joie
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“The conception was perfectly tailored to the lucid heat of the rising pianist Martin Helmchen, making an impressive Philharmonic debut with these performances … While Dvorák’s concerto is notorious for the discomfort it induces in its soloists, he never seemed to break a sweat, unleashing chromatic runs and laying down octaves with a style that was technically assured but also sly and nuanced …”


New York Philharmonic






With his highly virtuosic yet unpretentious style, Martin Helmchen has taken his place among the great pianists of his generation. Born in Berlin in 1982, he has made a series of sensational U.S. orchestral debuts, beginning in 2011 at Tanglewood, playing the Schumann Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi. In 2014, he gave a revelatory performance of the Dvorák Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center; in 2015, he made his Symphony Hall debut, performing Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and in 2016, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he debuted with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2.  In 2017, he returned to Symphony Hall, performing Beethoven's Concerto No. 3 with the Boston Symphony under Andris Nelsons. Highlights of the 2018/2019 season include a recital on the prestigious "Symphony Center Presents" series at Symphony Hall in Chicago, in addition to debuts with the San Diego and Kansas City symphonies, and a return to the Boston Symphony, performing Mozart's Concerto No. 22 with John Storgårds on the podium.


Mr. Helmchen has also appeared with the symphonies of Dallas, Grand Rapids, Houston, Portland (Oregon), Saint Louis, and San Francisco, as well as with the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom. Recent summer festival debuts include his 2017 performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and his 2016 performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center under Thierry Fischer.  In May 2014, he made a highly acclaimed recital debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.


Among Martin Helmchen’s worldwide highlights are performances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Vienna Philharmonic, and the NHK Symphony in Japan. Other international engagements include the City of Birmingham Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gürzenich-Orchester/Cologne, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Philharmonia Orchestra/London, Prague Symphony, and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.  Artist-in-Residence with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra during the 2011/2012 season, he has also appeared with the BBC/London, Bournemouth Symphony, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie/Bremen, Dresden Philharmonic, DSO/Berlin, Hallé Orchestra/Manchester, Giuseppe Verdi Symphony/Milan, NDR/Hamburg, Netherlands Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre National de France, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, RSO/Berlin, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, among others. In France, he tours with La Chambre Philharmonique under Emmanuel Krivine.


Mr. Helmchen has collaborated with such renowned conductors as David Afkham, Marc Albrecht, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph von Dohnányi, Sir Mark Elder, Thierry Fischer, Lawrence Foster, Edward Gardner, Valery Gergiev, Hans Graf, Manfred Honeck, Philippe Herreweghe, Pablo Heras-Casado, Marek Janowski, Michail Jurowski, Vladimir Jurowski, Bernhard Klee, Jiri Kout, Andris Nelsons, Sir Roger Norrington, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Christoph Poppen, Markus Poschner, Michael Sanderling, Heinrich Schiff, Marcus Stenz, Krzysztof Urbanski, Gilbert Varga, and David Zinman, to name a few.


An enthusiastic recitalist, Martin Helmchen has performed at prestigious venues around the world, such as The Frick Collection/New York, Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall (with cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker), the Coast Recital Society, San Francisco Performances, ArtSpring, Wigmore Hall/London, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. He also appears regularly at major German festivals, as well as the Schubertiade, Lockenhaus, and Marlboro. He was Artist-in-Residence at Germany's 2017 Schwetzingen SWR Festival.


With a passion for chamber music, largely ignited by his early collaborations with the late cellist Boris Pergamenschikow, Mr. Helmchen now performs regularly with Heinrich Schiff and Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. Other partners include Juliane Banse, Veronika Eberle, Julia Fischer (with whom he recently toured Asia), Sharon Kam, Gidon Kremer, Sabine Meyer, Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt, and Tabea Zimmermann. In 2016, he was invited to return to Elena Bashkirova's International Chamber Music Festival in Jerusalem. Since 2010, he has been Associate Professor of Chamber Music at the Kronberg Academy.

An active recording artist, Martin Helmchen’s debut disc of Mozart concertos with the Netherlands Chamber Philharmonic was released in September 2007 through his exclusive contract with PentaTone. A second Mozart concerto disc with the same orchestra was released in 2013. His first solo CD, a recording of works by Schubert, won an ECHO Award in 2009. Other discs for PentaTone include the Mendelssohn concertos, the Schumann and Dvorák concertos, and the highly acclaimed complete works of Schubert for violin and piano with Julia Fischer.

Mr. Helmchen studied with Galina Iwanzowa at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, with Arie Vardie at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover, and with William Grant Naboré. His career took off when he won the 2001 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition at the age of nineteen. Other distinctions include a fellowship from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust (2005); the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award (2006), culminating in his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Valery Gergiev at the Lucerne Festival; and soloist in the "BBC New Generation Artists" program (2005-2007).

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