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Martin Helmchen

Language available : english
Unusually active as a chamber musician, pianist Martin Helmchen is also widely heard as a concerto soloist and recitalist. He is a noted educator. Helmchen was born in West Berlin, Germany, in 1982. He took up the piano at age six and attended the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Musikgymnasium in the former East Berlin, where he was the first West Berliner admitted. Helmchen attended the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, studying with Galina Iwanzowa, and went on for further work with Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover. He also had lessons and mentorship from Alfred Brendel, among others. Wins at the 2001 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition and the 2003 International Kissinger Klavierolymp competition helped launch his career, as did a 2006 ECHO Klassik nod as Young Artist of the Year. His recording career had begun in 2002 on the Claves label with the album Martin Helmchen, Piano, and then kicked into high gear with a series of chamber music and concerto recordings on the PentaTone label, beginning with a Mozart piano concerto album with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Helmchen has appeared as a soloist with many of the world's major orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and NHK Symphony. He made his U.S. debut in 2011 with the Boston Symphony at the Tanglewood festival. His recital credits include frequent appearances at Wigmore Hall in London. His chamber music partners are a varied group of A-listers, including violinists Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff, and cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, to whom he is married. Helmchen has served as accompanist to various singers, including Matthias Goerne. In the late 2010s, he embarked on a cycle of Beethoven's violin sonatas with violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann; the pair performed across Europe and recorded the cycle for the BIS label. He also recorded for the Alpha label during this period, and he was heard on that label in 2021 in a recording of Schubert's String Quintet in C major, D. 958, with Tetzlaff and other players. Since 2010, Helmchen has been on the chamber music faculty at Germany's Kronberg Academy.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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