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.