Martin Helmchen: Profile Interview

Before performing as part of the Tetzlaff Quartet in our final Andris Nelsons Brahms Cycle concert, pianist Martin Helmchen discusses the pros and cons of being an in-demand international soloist

PO: With concert dates all over the world, what is life like for a busy classical soloist?

MH: Very challenging and very beautiful. With the seeming freedom of planning, it’s all about finding the right balance. Performing experience versus time to work quietly and intensely with the music alone. Travel experience and establishing long term musical collaborations versus private and family life. Learning new pieces versus the maturing process of old repertoire.

PO: We’ve performed a range of Brahms works throughout this series but which of his compositions is your favourite?

MH: It’s impossible to pick just one, but both pieces in our concert (23 Feb) would be very strong contenders. The c minor quartet is the favourite chamber music piece of many people who know everything Brahms has written in that area. I would say it is the darkest and in some ways the deepest chamber work by Brahms.

PO: You’ve performed as a soloist with the Philharmonia for the last 3 seasons. Do you enjoy working with the Orchestra?

MH: I have always enjoyed playing with the Philharmonia tremendously.

Martin Helmchen performs tonight (23 Feb) as part of the Tetzlaff Quartet, and as soloist for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on Thursday 27 February.

Find out more about Martin here