"... Helmchen plunged into the stormy depths. His cool stage presence belied the force behind his account of the concerto [Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3]. Even in more delicate passages, echoes of fury were palpable, and trilled notes had their own knife edges, sharpened to diamond grade by the acoustics of Symphony Hall ... The slower second movement was a thing of crystalline beauty, and Helmchen exquisitely shaped the contours of both the sweet melody and twinkling backdrop to the orchestra. With those smaller sounds, the impact was much larger. In the third movement the thunder returned, culminating in a fierce, pealing coda."
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Sante Cecilia (Rome)
"And so it was with this young German Martin Helmchen today that we heard a Mozart D minor Concerto, K.466 as we have not heard its like since Haskil, Brendel or Pires. This was a young man's Mozart full of passionate energy that together with David Afkham and his colleagues, held us spellbound for a half an hour of sublime music making ... Time seemed to stand still, such was the attention to detail with such subtle phrasing and style. I would say this was the nearest thing to perfection that I have heard for a long time."
Mostly Mozart Festival / Lincoln Center
"The highlight for me was the performance of Mozart's majestic Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, with the refined, fresh, young German pianist Martin Helmchen in an impressive Mostly Mozart debut."
NEW YORK TIMES
"Under the pianist's beautifully regulated touch, phrases arched and connected with a fluidity that always felt natural in their unfolding ..." [Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2]
New York Philharmonic
“… the novelty here was Dvorák’s Piano Concerto in G minor (1876), redolent of Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and Liszt … [Mr. Dohnányi’s] conception was perfectly tailored to the lucid heat of the rising pianist Martin Helmchen, making an impressive Philharmonic debut with these performances. Mr. Helmchen has a noble bearing and a noble sound, shaping lines as elegant and clean as a Greek temple’s. 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, passing in and out of the orchestral textures. If Mr. Dohnányi kept the emotional temperature rather cool throughout the concert, Mr. Helmchen provided ample sparks.”
NEW YORK TIMES
Cleveland Orchestra (Blossom)
“Pianist Martin Helmchen, the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, also seemed determined to expose the heart of a popular, deeply familiar piece of music … Not content with just one mood per movement, Helmchen always sought a counterbalance, injecting playfulness into reveries and a scampering, unbounded quality into music of a generally fiery nature. Thus was routine averted, and a fresh, bracing experience provided in its stead.”
PLAIN DEALER (Cleveland)
Boston Symphony (Tanglewood)
“Helmchen lit the Schumann Piano Concerto with an inner glow, suggesting its kinship with Schumann's songs … [his] fluidity allowed him to refine and color the deeply romantic spirit. The high point of the cadenza, for example, was not the showy stuff, but the lyrical interlude.”
Washington Performing Arts Society recital
"The world isn't short of brilliant concert pianists, but Martin Helmchen stands out even in that remarkable crowd ... it wasn't so much the young German's technique — which truly is spectacular — that made the afternoon memorable as it was the distinctive poetic imagination that he brought to virtually everything he played."
“Dvorák’s Piano Concerto received a sparkling performance from Helmchen … [he] conquered the seemingly impossible with panache, making it look as easy as buttering toast on a Sunday morning.”
OREGON MUSIC NEWS
“… the performance was all Helmchen’s: the well-calibrated muscle with which he tackled this sparkling but rather arch piece made one look forward to hearing him in meatier repertoire.” [Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1]
THE GUARDIAN (London)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
“The young German pianist Martin Helmchen was outstanding. His crisp articulation, imaginative phrasing, and a few discreetly added grace notes, made this dark minor key drama a compelling experience.” [Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24]