Martin Helmchen, piano

Martin Helmchen

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Sunday, April 14
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall




Martin Helmchen plays liszt: Au bord d’une Source


BACH: Partita No. 5 G-Dur BWV 829
WEBERN: Variations for Piano, Op. 27
SCHUBERT: Two Impromptus
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

About This Performance

A supremely virtuosic yet genuinely unpretentious style marks this German pianist’s approach to his artistry. He unflaggingly uses his rock-solid technique and sense for dramatic flair in service of the integrity of the music itself, making for extremely satisfying performances.

Artist Biography

With his highly virtuosic yet unpretentious style, pianist Martin Helmchen is a rapidly rising star. Born in Berlin in 1982, he has already performed with several of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan.

Mr. Helmchen made his American orchestral debut in August with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi at Tanglewood. Future debuts in the US include concert appearances with the symphony orchestras of Houston, Oregon and St. Louis, as well as recitals in San Francisco and Carnegie’s Weill Hall in New York (with cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker).

Worldwide, Martin Helmchen has performed with the Birmingham Symphony, BBC Symphony/London, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie/Bremen, DSO/Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, Giuseppe Verdi Symphony/Milan, Netherlands Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include the Academy of St. Martin’s in the Fields, Bournemouth Symphony, Cologne Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra/Manchester, London Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, NDR/ Hamburg, NHK Symphony/Tokyo and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. During the 2011–12 season, he will also serve as Artist-in-Residence with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra.

In his collaborations with orchestras worldwide, Mr. Helmchen has worked with such renowned conductors as Marc Albrecht, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Sir Mark Elder, Lawrence Foster, Edward Gardner, Valery Gergiev, Hans Graf, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, Philippe Herreweghe, Marek Janowski, Michail Jurowski, Vladimir Jurowski, Bernhard Klee, Jiri Kout, Kurt Masur, Andris Nelsons, Christoph Poppen, Michael Sanderling and Heinrich Schiff, among others.

Also an enthusiastic recitalist, Martin Helmchen has performed at prestigious venues throughout Europe and, in addition to Schubertiade, Lockenhaus and Marlboro, appears regularly at all the major German festivals. Recital engagements for the 2011–12 season include The Frick Collection in New York, Wigmore Hall and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt.

An active recording artist, Mr. Helmchen’s debut disc of Mozart concertos with the Netherlands Chamber Philharmonic was released in September 2007 through his exclusive contract with PentaTone. A recording of works by Schubert, his first solo CD won an ECHO Award in 2009. Other discs for PentaTone include the Mendelssohn concertos, the Schumann and Dvorák concertos, and Schubert’s complete works for violin and piano with Julia Fischer, which has won considerable acclaim.

Mr. Helmchen has a passion for chamber music. Largely ignited by his early collaborations with the late cellist Boris Pergamenschikow, he now performs regularly with Heinrich Schiff and Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. Other partners include Juliane Banse, Veronika Eberle, Julia Fischer, Sharon Kam, Gidon Kremer, Sabine Meyer, Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt and Tabea Zimmermann. Last summer, Mr. Helmchen was re-invited to participate in Elena Bashkirova’s International Chamber Music Festival in Jerusalem.

Martin Helmchen studied at Berlin’s Hanns Eisler Conservatory with Galina Iwanzowa and later with Arie Vardie at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater (Hanover) and with William Grant Naboré. His career took off when he won the 2001 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition at the age of 19. Other distinctions include a fellowship from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust in 2005, the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2006 and participation in the BBC New Generation Artist program from 2005-2007.


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