Martin Helmchen was born in Berlin in 1982. He received his first piano lessons at the age of six. From 1993 until graduating from school in 2000 he was a student of Galina Iwanzowa at the Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin. After 2001, he studied with Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover. His career received its first major impulse after winning the Clara Haskil Competition in 2001.
Orchestras with which Mr. Helmchen has performed include: the Deutsche Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, RSO Stuttgart, Bamberg Symphoniker, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the chamber orchestras of Zurich, Amsterdam, Vienna, Lausanne, Cologne and Munich. He has worked with conductors such as Marek Janowski, Philippe Herreweghe, Marc Albrecht, Vladimir Jurowski, Jiri Kout, Bernhard Klee, and Lawrence Foster.
Mr. Helmchen has been a guest at the Ruhr Piano Festival, Kissinger Summer Festival, the Festivals in Lockenhaus, Jerusalem, in Spoleto, Italy, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Spannungen Chamber-Music Festival in Heimbach, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, the Schwetzinger Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, as well as the Marlboro Festival in Vermont, USA.
Chamber music is a highly valued part of Martin Helmchen’s life, which he always includes in his performance programme. For years now, he has collaborated closely with Boris Pergamenschikow till his decease in 2004; at present, he regularly gives concerts and recitals with Heinrich Schiff and Danjulo Ishizaka. Furthermore, he has partnered Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Isabelle Faust, Daniel Hope, Antje Weithaas, Tabea Zimmermann, Sharon Kam and Lars Vogt.
The young pianist Martin Helmchen has already been awarded two of the most important prizes in the music scene: the Crédit Suisse Young Artist Award and the ECHO Klassik. He received the Crédit Suisse Award in September 2006. The prize included his début with the Vienna Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev, performing Schumann’s Piano Concerto during the Lucerne Festival.
He was awarded the ECHO prize jointly with cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, as “Nachwuchskünstler des Jahres” (up-and-coming artist of the year). In 2013/14 Mr. Helmchen made some important USA debuts including Cleveland Orchestra conducted by David Afkham, San Francisco Symphony with Marek Janowski and Dallas Symphony Orchestra with Jaap van Sweden.
In 2009 and 2010, Martin Helmchen recorded the complete violin and piano works of Schubert, originally launched in two separate volumes, together with Julia Fischer. These were remarkably successful from both a critical and a commercial standpoint.These performances, which were charmingly recorded in a warm acoustic space form, perfectly balanced conversations between two vibrant young personalities. Julia Fischer and Martin Helmchen skilfully reveal what can be achieved when Schubert's Violin and Piano duos are given the right treatment: a wonderful piece of music, expertly performed.