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, he has made a series of sensational North American orchestral debuts, beginning in 2011 at Tanglewood, performing 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. 2018 saw Mr. Helmchen’s debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal under music director Kent Nagano, where his performance of the Schumann Concerto inspired favorable comparisons to Murray Perahia, Martha Argerich, and even Schumann himself.


Highlights of the 2019/2020 season include return invitations to the Chicago Symphony, as well as to Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival with music director, Louis Langrée; in addition, he will open the season for the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with music director Andris Nelsons. Mr. Helmchen also returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, and will make his debut with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. Additionally, throughout the next two seasons, Mr. Helmchen will perform the three Bartók concertos with three different German orchestras: the DSO Berlin, hr-Symphony Orchestra in Frankfurt, and the Bielefeld Symphony. He will also appear in recital with violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann in venues throughout Europe, performing all ten of the Beethoven violin sonatas.


Other notable appearances in the U.S. include the symphonies of San Francisco, Saint Louis, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, and Portland/Oregon, as well as with the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom and the Aspen Music Festival. Internationally Mr. Helmchen has also performed with the philharmonic orchestras of Berlin, Dresden, and Vienna, the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, Prague Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Giuseppe Verdi Symphony/Milan, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the NHK Symphony in Japan, as well as serving as artist-in-residence with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra.


Mr. Helmchen has collaborated with such renowned conductors as David Afkham, Marc Albrecht, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph von Dohnányi, Thierry Fischer, Lawrence Foster, Valery Gergiev, Manfred Honeck, Jakub Hr?ša, Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Louis Langrée, Klaus Mäkelä, Kent Nagano, Sir Roger Norrington, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Michael Sanderling, Gilbert Varga, and David Zinman, among others.


An enthusiastic recitalist, Martin Helmchen has performed at prestigious venues around the world, including the Kennedy Center, 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, the Schubertiade, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt.


With a passion for chamber music, largely ignited by his early collaborations with the late cellist Boris Pergamenchikov, Mr. Helmchen now performs regularly with Heinrich Schiff and Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. Other partners include Juliane Banse, Veronika Eberle, Julia Fischer (with whom he toured Asia), Sharon Kam, Gidon Kremer, Sabine Meyer, Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt, and Tabea Zimmermann. Martin Helmchen has also collaborated with noted vocalists such as Juliane Banse, Matthias Goerne, and Julian Pregardien.


A prolific recording artist, Martin Helmchen’s first recording for PentaTone, featuring works by Schubert, won an ECHO Award; this was soon followed by a recording of the complete works of Schubert for violin and piano with Julia Fischer. Subsequent CDs have included concertos of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Dvorák. Currently signed with Alpha Classics, Mr. Helmchen’s recording of Messiaen’s “Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus“ has recently been released. Having now completed recording the entire piano concertos of Beethoven, including the Triple Concerto, the first CD, Volume I, will be released in the autumn of 2019; Volumes II and III will be available in the spring and autumn of 2020.


Mr. Helmchen was a student of Galina Iwanzowa at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, Arie Vardie at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover, and 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), which culminated in his debut with at the Lucerne Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Valery Gergiev; as well as featured soloist in the “BBC New Generation Artists” program from 2005-2007.

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