Non-subscription Concert with the Conductor Laureate

Herbert Blomstedt Conductor
Martin Helmchen Piano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Piano Concerto in C major, K. 503
  • Symphony in C major, K. 551 »Jupiter«

The power of the intellect

Alongside divine omnipotence, Jupiter, chief deity of the Romans, is known for his infamous ability to change appearance: this »God of the Sky« can take on a thousand guises. Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, his last essay in this form, is regarded as a veritable masterpiece of musical transformation and design, in which the material is entirely shaped by the power of the intellect. The Piano Concerto in C major K. 503 is also an impressive testament to Mozart’s astonishing productivity.

Expected running time incl. intermission: 95 min.

Date of broadcast: 26 December 2017, from 8.05 p.m. on MDR Kultur
  • 15.12.2017
    19:00 Uhr
    Ticket price:
    60.00 – 90.00 €
  • 16.12.2017
    11:00 Uhr

Herbert Blomstedt

Conductor Laureate

The close relationship between Herbert Blomstedt and the Staatskapelle Dresden stretches back more than 40 years. Following his debut with the orchestra in April 1969, he held the post of Principal Conductor from 1975 to 1985, a decade that is not only unforgettable musically, but which was also marked by difficult political conditions. In purely human terms, this was certainly a special chapter in the ensemble’s long history. Alongside the »local heroes« Wagner and Strauss, Herbert Blomstedt performed a wide repertoire during his time in Dresden, stretching from the Kapelle’s Baroque heritage to numerous world and German premieres. He recorded a vast number of works with the orchestra, and in 1985 conducted the first Staatskapelle concert in the newly rebuilt Semperoper. To the present day he has given more than 300 concerts with the Kapelle, including no fewer than ten appearances at the traditional Palm Sunday Concert, and has conducted a number of opera productions, formerly in the Dresden State Theatre. In 2007 the Staatskapelle awarded him its Golden Badge of Honour. In May 2016 he was named the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate, making him the second conductor after Sir Colin Davis to hold this post. 

Born in the USA to Swedish parents, Herbert Blomstedt gave his conducting debut in 1954 with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Later he conducted the Oslo Philharmonic as well as the Danish and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestras in Copenhagen and Stockholm respectively. He has been Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Principal Conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg and the 18th Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

He is the Conductor Laureate of the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Leipzig, Copenhagen and Stockholm, the Bamberg Symphony and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. As a guest conductor, Herbert Blomstedt works with the world’s top orchestras. In 2011 he enjoyed a late debut with the Vienna Philharmonic, paving the way for a series of collaborations with that ensemble. He is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Music Academy, holds a number of honorary doctorates and in 2003 was awarded the Order of Merit (Großes Verdienstkreuz) of the Federal Republic of Germany. In April 2016 he received the prestigious Danish Léonie Sonning Music Prize for his artistic lifework.

Martin Helmchen

There are shooting stars who arrive on the concert scene like a bolt from the blue but then quickly disappear again. And there are musicians who gradually play their way into the limelight and at some point become an indispensable part of musical life. Winning the Clara Haskil Competition would normally have catapulted the 19-year-old Martin Helmchen to stardom in the classical world. The concert agencies and record companies proceeded slowly at first, however, and Martin Helmchen’s career developed gradually but steadily, for which he is extremely grateful in retrospect. »I had enough time and freedom to develop as an artist.«

Born in 1982, Martin Helmchen was the first student from the former West Berlin to attend the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Musikgymnasium, a school specializing in music, then studied at the Hanns Eisler School of Music with Galina Iwanzowa and in Hannover with the legendary Arie Vardi. Equipped with the virtuosic qualifications of the Russian school, Martin Helmchen developed his own musical approach and established himself among the elite of the piano world.

He appears with the leading orchestras in Boston and Chicago, London and Cleveland, Paris and Tokyo and with the major German radio orchestras. He reached the pinnacle in his debuts with the Berlin, Vienna and New York Philharmonics and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has collaborated regularly with such conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Philippe Herreweghe, Vladimir Jurowski, the late Sir Neville Marriner, Andris Nelsons, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Michael Sanderling and, in particular, his long-time musical partner and supporter Christoph von Dohnányi.

It is revealing that chamber music, the »most natural and most exhilarating form of music making«, is especially important to Martin Helmchen. He was particularly influenced in this genre by cellists Boris Pergamenschikow and Heinrich Schiff and performs regularly with Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, Veronika Eberle, Julia Fischer, Antoine Tamestit, Christian Tetzlaff, Antje Weithaas, Carolin Widmann, Juliane Banse and Matthias Goerne. He has been an associate professor at the Kronberg Academy since 2010.